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Earth Tones: How Brown Colored Foods Make You Healthy

While the colors of the rainbow are getting all of the press these days, plenty of good nutrition can still be had from foods of a humbler hue.

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Ever notice that comic book superheroes are usually dressed in very bright colors – Superman in blue and red, The Flash in bright red, and Aquaman in orange and green. Even Wonder Woman, what little there was to her suit, was brightly colored. Superfoods like blueberries, raspberries, yellow peppers and tomatoes are much the same. They announce their power with bright rainbow colors. Those are the ones we think of first, both with heroes and foods.

Rarely though, does The Thing come to mind when thinking about heroes. He is dirt brown and kind of scary and ugly. But, he’s super-strong and a real good guy. Turns out, there are some pretty powerful super foods colored brown as well. And they offer tons of great nutrition that promotes overall health and vitality, including disease prevention.

Here’s a list of some less than beautiful, brown-colored foods that, nevertheless, pack a powerful punch of great nutrition:

  • Nuts – Just about every kind of nut has good nutritional value. Some are better than others, with walnuts, almonds, macadamia and pecans leading the way. Their high fiber content, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and plant sterols make nuts an effective tool for cholesterol management. As a rich source of L-arginine, nuts contribute to arterial health and circulatory system support.
  • Whole Grains – Whole grains contain the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain. They are rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, the trace minerals zinc, iron, copper and magnesium, and fiber. These constituents give whole grains the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even some forms of cancer. Brown rice, whole wheat/oats/barley, quinoa and millet are all popular, delicious ways to add whole grains into your diet.
  • Lentils – In addition to brown, lentils can also be red, green or yellow. They have virtually no fat and are a good source of protein. Their fiber content promotes bowel health, and the folate and magnesium deliver support for healthy blood vessels.
  • Mushrooms – Mushrooms of any kind, but especially Crimini, offer unique immune system support. Their phytonutrients help suppress chronic inflammation and reduce immune cell damage to the aorta. They are also abundant in conjugated linoleic acid, which reduces breast cancer risk by suppressing excess estrogen production. The selenium, manganese and zinc found in mushrooms provide excellent antioxidant protection.
  • Dark Chocolate – This is the exception that proves the rule that fun food is bad for you. When the cocoa content is 70-85%, dark chocolate provides healthy fats, powerful antioxidants and is loaded with minerals and electrolytes. This bounty of nutrients promotes improved circulation, healthy HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, improved cognitive function and – believe it or not – healthy, younger looking skin. That’s a whole lot of health benefit for such a tasty treat. Of course, too much of a good thing is often not so good for you. Enjoy in moderation.

With the exception of chocolate, it’s a safe bet that most people don’t get enough of these wonderful brown superfoods. Adding a well-designed antioxidant formula and an essential fatty acid supplement to your daily nutrition will help fill the gaps when these earth-toned superfoods don’t find their way to your plate.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635, Nuts And Your Heart: Eating Nuts For Heart Health, Mayo Clinic Staff, Retrieved 3/31/14, MFMER, 2104.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=52, Lentils, Retrieved 3/31/14, George Mateljian Foundation, 2001-2014.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=97, Mushrooms, Retrieved 3/31/14, George Mateljian Foundation, 2001-2014.

http://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/, 7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate, Kris Gunnars, Retrieved 3/31/14, AuthorityNutrition.com, 2014.

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/reap-the-benefits-of-whole-grains, Tips For Reaping The Benefits Of Whole Grains, Kathleen Zelman, Retrieved 3/31/14, WebMD, LLC, 2014.

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