Eat the rainbow? Add more nutrients to your diet with colorful berries

You may have been told to “eat the rainbow,” meaning to eat colorful fruits and vegetables to get a variety of important vitamins and nutrients. This is generally a good rule to follow, and it’s especially true with colorful berries like blueberries.

Research shows that 1 cup of blueberries a day has been shown to decrease the type of inflammation that causes heart disease, stroke, cell death (that causes cancer) and poor cognition.

Blueberries (and other blue and purple foods) get their color from a phytochemical called anthocyanin – and anthocyanin is a powerful nutrient with many health benefits. In addition to blueberries, other foods like blackberries, grapes, plums, purple cabbage and red onion are all good sources of anthocyanin. “Just keep in mind that nutrients found in highly processed foods can make inflammation worse,” says Lacey Gammon, NCHPAD Nutrition Coordinator, “so target whole fruits and vegetables for your vitamin and nutrient needs.”

Want to incorporate more blueberries into your diet? Try these three recipes:

Watch: Blackberry Blueberry Mint Water

Recipe: Heavenly Blueberry Smoothie


  • 1 frozen banana, thawed for 10 to 15 minutes
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons flax seed meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries


  • Cut banana into small pieces and place in blender. Add the soy milk, yogurt, flax seed meal, and honey.
  • Blend on lowest speed until smooth, about 5 seconds. Gradually add the blueberries while continuing to blend on low.
  • Once the blueberries have been incorporated, increase speed, and blend to desired consistency.


Recipe: Simple High-Fiber Snack


  • 1/2 17-ounce box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal or Shredded Wheat
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried berries (strawberries, cranberries, cherries, blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup natural pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup broken walnut pieces or almonds


Combine all ingredients in a large zip-lock bag and gently shake mixture. Best if consumed within 4-5 days and kept in an air-tight container or zip-lock sealed bags.