Most brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent damage to your cells by satisfying free radicals and creating balance. Flavonoids, or bioflavonoids, is an umbrella term for a number of specific forms which all generally provide or aid in antioxidant protection in your body.

When your body is stressed or injured, inflammation occurs to help heal it. However, when too much or chronic inflammation occurs, it can be even more damaging to your body. Flavonoids help protect against a heightened and prolonged inflammatory response and can help stimulate the activity of good immune cells that can rid your body of invaders. Some flavonoids may help decrease allergy symptoms, protect against high blood pressure, strengthen blood vessel walls, protect against cataracts, strengthen your skin, prevent skin microbial growth and promote overall health in other diverse ways.

A fun activity to try with your family is to go through each color in the rainbow and think of as many fruits or vegetables that are the same color. Then try eating them for dinner! Incorporating more color onto your plate is an excellent way to ensure you are getting the nutrition that you need and can make your meals look and taste better, too. Vitamin C increases flavonoid absorption and processing flavonoids with too much cooking can destroy them. To increase your flavonoid consumption, try eating red, orange and yellow bell peppers more often. They are a great snack as they can be easily eaten raw. Leave the white pith inside the bell pepper as it is concentrated with flavonoids. Blueberries are also an easy breakfast or snack option and they are packed with antioxidants. As always, be moderate and look for ways to include variety in the things that you eat.

Molly Roemer recently graduated with a degree in dietetics from BYU, and current resides in Alamo. She enjoys food and family and seeks to enrich the lives of others through both. Email questions or comments to roemermolly@gmail.com.