(208) 385-7711

Eat the Rainbow: Orange Foods

by Functional Medicine of Idaho

The term phytonutrient is a broad term for natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, seeds, and legumes that are responsible for giving plants their distinct color, taste, and smell. Each phytonutrient performs specific activities and modifies different physiological functions in the human body, including inflammation reduction and brain health support.

More than 25,000 phytonutrients are found in nature, and they come in all different colors, including orange. If we eat the same foods over and over again, we may be missing out on a wide range of important phytonutrients! It’s important to eat the recommended 9 – 13 servings of fruits and veggies a day, including 1 – 2 servings of orange foods.

Orange Food Health Benefits

Carotenoids are a class of phytonutrients that provide a wide range of health benefits to the human body, Orange foods contain a particularly high amount of the carotenoid subgroup beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A in the human body. We need vitamin A for healthy vision, immune function, cell growth, and reproduction. Most food sources of vitamin A are animal based. Eating plenty of carotenoid-containing fruits and veggies is essential for those who are vegan or who do not eat select animal products.

The benefits of eating orange foods include:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Blood vessel health
  • Brain health
  • Cell protection
  • Immune health
  • Reproductive health
  • Skin health

Ideas for Incorporating More Orange Foods Into Your Diet

  1. Add tropical fruit like mango, papaya, or orange to your morning smoothie
  2. Try carrot or orange juice instead of a soda⁠⁠
  3. Sprinkle turmeric powder into a vegetable stir fry or soup⁠⁠
  4. Make homemade carrot “fries”, instead of typical potato fries⁠⁠
  5. Have dried papaya, apricots, or mango as a snack (Be sure to read the label to be sure that they do not contain added preservatives – like sulfites, BHT, BHA – or added sweeteners)⁠⁠
  6. Have a baked sweet potato instead of a baked white potato⁠⁠
  7. Eat a clementine, tangerine, nectarine, or peach as a snack
  8. Puree carrots, butternut squash, and/or pumpkin and use as a soup base⁠⁠

Orange Fruits

  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mangos
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Persimmons
  • Tangerines

Orange Vegetables

  • Acorn squash
  • Bell peppers
  • Buttercup squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Sweet potato 
  • Winter squash
  • Yams 


Share the Post:

Related Posts