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Will You Be My Valentine?

It’s Valentine's Day! A time for love, togetherness, flowers, chocolates, the color red...

Valentine’s Day holds a special place in my heart. My first official date with my husband was on Valentine's Day in 2004. Even if you don’t have a significant other in your life, remember that taking care of your body is an important way to show love to yourself! Part of taking care of yourself is eating the right kinds of foods. Since Valentine's Day is a day for red to flourish, let’s talk about the phytonutrients in red foods!

First, let’s think about some red foods:


I have been reading about phytonutrients in The Rainbow Diet, by Deanna Minich, PhD, and according to Dr. Minich, red foods are part of our ROOT system. The ROOT system is associated with ancestors, blood, body, family/tribe, instinct, nature, protection, security, and survival. The ROOT includes our structure (joints, bones, muscles) and internal (immune system and blood cells) and external (skin) defense systems.

The adrenal system, which is responsible for our “flight or fight” response, is also part of the ROOT. So, it is not surprising that some of the phytonutrient benefits of red foods include:

  • anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties

  • cell protection

  • gastrointestinal health (think immune system)

  • heart health (red blood cells)

  • hormone health (think adrenal glands)

  • liver health

When you think about some of the complementary micronutrients for the ROOT system, think about:

Calcium – strong bones & teeth

Iron – healthy blood cell formation

Remember to use a vitamin C source like citrus with leafy greens, like spinach, to help with iron absorption!

Lentils & beans also contain iron!

Zinc – think immune health

So, how can you incorporate more phytonutrients in your diet? EAT THE RAINBOW!

Aim for 9-13 servings of plant-based foods every day, which means ½ to ¾ of your plate should be vegetables or vegetable based.

1 serving is about:

Most people don’t think about incorporating vegetables into their breakfast routine, but it is a great way to start your day. Vegetable based soups or a stir-fry is a great breakfast full of phytonutrients. Homemade smoothies with spinach, beets, or pumpkin can also start your day on the right path.

Experiment with your food choices.

Is there a vegetable that you have been too scared to try? Look up some new recipes online and try new things. You never know! It might become a new favorite! I feel like beets was one of those foods for me. However, I discovered that roasted, pickled or shredded beets in a salad are delicious! Here is a recipe for you to try!

If something fruity is more your speed, try this recipe:

Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy those phytonutrients in the rainbow of fruits and veggies!

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