Eat the Rainbow Winter Week #7: Inflammation

EtR PROGRAM UPDATES:

Welcome to Week 7 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge

HERE IS THE LINK TO REPORT YOUR FRUIT AND VEGGIES FOR LAST WEEK!

  • Don’t forget to keep track of which meals and/or snacks you include a fruit or veggie and complete the tracking form weekly. We keep your responses anonymous and it helps me tailor our information to your needs!
  • This is your last reminder to complete the Mid Point Growth Level Quiz! See if you’ve moved levels since we started!

Have a colorful week!

– Julie

WEEK 7 TOPIC: INFLAMMATION – WHAT IS IT? 

Put simply, inflammation is part of the body’s immune response to injury and invasion. When your body is damaged (from a cut for example) or is exposed to a pathogen (like a virus), your immune system fights back by releasing immune cells to the site of damage. These cells help heal and protect your body by fighting off pathogens, removing dead cells, and repairing tissues. 

From what I just described, it probably seems like inflammation is a good thing – and under normal circumstances, it is! Our body uses the inflammatory response to protect itself and keep us healthy. 

However, we start to enter into dangerous territory when inflammation occurs too often – this is known as chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation can occur in response to many different things like a persistent injury, continued exposure to toxins, long-term stress, and gut issues. This chronic inflammation may then lead to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 

Specific to cancer, it is now thought that chronic inflammation may play a role in tumor development and may also prevent cancer cells from dying. 

So how can you prevent and decrease inflammation in your body? We think one way is through your dietary choices! 

Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and fatty fish is known to decrease inflammation in the body. 

Fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients – these are chemicals naturally produced by plants that help plants stay healthy, and have amazing benefits for humans as well. Phytonutrients are especially known for their anti-inflammatory properties

How can you increase the amount of phytonutrients in your diet? Aim for as much color as possible! Phytonutrients usually give fruits and vegetables their color, so try to eat a wide variety of vibrant produce like kale, spinach, and cherries. 

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:

Eat the rainbow! Try to eat one fruit or vegetable from every color of the rainbow this week. Here are some ideas for each color:

  • Red: apples, red bell pepper, cranberries
  • Orange: carrots, orange, grapefruit,  pumpkin, sweet potato, squash 
  • Yellow: yellow bell pepper, mango, lemon
  • Green: kale, kiwi, avocado, broccoli, green apple, cabbage, collard greens, peas
  • Blue: blueberries, blackberries 
  • Purple: pomegranate, beets, red cabbage
  • White: parsnips, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, banana

Keep track of your rainbow and share pictures of your colorful fruit and veggies on our Facebook page! 

PRODUCE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts have had a pretty tough go of it.  First of all, how many people actually spell it right- brussels sprouts- who knew??? Second, they don’t top too many peoples’ favorites list because they can go awry if they aren’t cooked well. Well, I’m here to help change all of that today! Why should you give these little green sprouts a second chance? 

When it comes to cancer-fighting, brussels sprouts are powerhouses. They are on the AICR’s list of foods that fight cancer because of their fiber and antioxidant compounds. One cup of brussels sprouts packs 3.3 grams of fiber, 3 g of protein, and 124% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. 

Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Cruciferous vegetables are one of the most well-studied food groups in the anti-cancer world. There is lots of strong evidence showing that regular consumption can reduce your risk of several cancers.

Fun fact: they get their name from the city in Belgium where they became popular in the 16th century. Hence the S at the end!

How to Use:

When picking out brussels sprouts at the store, look for small, firm veggies that are bright green. Roasting sprouts is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness and cut any bitterness they may have. 

RECIPE OF THE WEEK

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Fool-Proof Brussels Sprouts

  • Author: Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced (optional)
  • “no-salt” seasoning blend
  • salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Prep the brussels sprouts by washing, cutting off the end, then cutting in half
  3. Toss together the cut brussels, olive oil, diced onion, pepper, and no-salt seasoning. The amount of seasoning will depend on how many sprouts you have- it’s up to you!
  4. Bake for 45-60 min or until tender
  5. salt, if desired

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Hope You Enjoy!!

– Julie & The Interns

Eat the Rainbow Winter Week #6-Fiber is Your Friend!

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