>>When you walk down the produce isle at the market, or the orchards at your local farms, or even the gardens in your own backyard, notice the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables. Not only are these colors gorgeous to look at, but they actually exist to protect the plants on which they grow. Each of the different colors contain plant nutrients, which help protect the plants from damage or disease. When we eat fruits and vegetables these phytonutrients help to protect us as well. For example, this orange contains over twenty nutrients including the antioxidant vitamin C. Studies have shown that vitamin C tablets alone cannot reproduce the same beneficial effects of the oranges themselves. Scientists believe there are thousands of phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables. The phytonutrients may help reduce our risk for heart disease, stroke and certain cancers; they can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and help stabilize blood sugars.More benefits are being discovered every day. There are different nutrients for different colors, bright red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots are a good source of carotenoids that are antioxidants and help protect cells from damage. Dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli contain flavonoids and other nutrients. Dark red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables like cherries, grapes, blueberries and eggplant contain anthocyanins, which may help protect blood vessels, lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation, which are all risk factors for heart disease.White vegetables like garlic and onions contain plant sulfurs that may also help lower cholesterol. As you can see, different colored fruits and vegetables have different phytonutrients, as well as vitamins, minerals and fiber that work together. The most important thing to remember is that the best way to get the benefits of these phytonutrients is to eat the rainbow and include at least five different colors of fruits and vegetables each day.Try a colorful salad, a medley of roasted vegetables, or a variety of raw vegetables with a spinach pesto dip and enjoy the flavors of the rainbow each day. .