TREND Choosing your foods by their color
HOW IT STARTED Doctors and nutritionists are becoming convinced that certain food colors have healthful properties
JUDGMENT CALL If it gets you to eat your fruits and veggies, why not?
What color was your lunch? Never mind proteins, carbs and those other old-hat nutritional obsessions; what's really important in food, says a new group of docs, is hue. Some medical experts are convinced that the pigments in foods, called phytonutrients, play a key role in preventing disease. The blue in blueberries, they say, may protect the brain, while the orange in carrots may promote heart health. Pale beige carbs such as breads and cookies are, not surprisingly, the weakest link. What's recommended is an array of produce, the more vibrant the better. "Be drawn to brightly colored fruits and vegetables," advises Dr. Daniel Nadeau, a professor at Tufts Medical School and co-author of The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health, due from Hyperion next March. Dr. David Heber, the founding director of the ucla Center for Human Nutrition and author of the just published What Color Is Your Diet? (HarperCollins), suggests seven servings a day of fruits and vegetables, each from a different color group (to meet your orange-yellow needs, for instance, eat a papaya, nectarine or grapefruit). "For most people, iceberg lettuce, French fries and catsup are their three vegetables," he says. "This is an attempt to bring us back to our evolutionary roots."
--By Andrea Sachs