Good Mood Rainbow Foods

What colors are on your plate? How many colors from nature do you eat each day?

Rainbow vegetables and fruits are powerful brain foods. They provide the micronutrients necessary for your physical and mental health:

Rich in powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and DNA-enhancing properties, they fuel your brain, provide essential nutrients and reduce inflammation. There is a strong link between inflammation, mood, and mental health.

Loaded with fiber, these foods also feed the good bacteria in your gut.  The trillions of bacteria in your gut influence your mood, brain functions and mental health. Rainbow foods are good mood foods.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Drew Ramsey, MD” source_title=”Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety” full_quote=”Mother Nature created a world full of brightly colored fruits and vegetables – all with their own unique phytonutrients to promote health. These rainbows – sometimes referred to as “brainbows” – are chockful of fiber and phytonutrients. Flavonoids are responsible for the bright colors. Purple foods like eggplant and berries, boast phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Orange options like carrots and sweet potatoes, get their sunny color from, which convert into brain-boosting vitamin A. Reds – from strawberries to tomatoes – signal lycopene, an antioxidant dynamo.” short_quote=”Mother Nature created a world full of brightly colored vegetables, all with their own unique phytonutrients to promote health”]

Here is a quick list of rainbow foods, and reasons to eat them. How many of these foods do you eat?

Greens are SO nutrient-dense, I’ve written about them separately — Good Mood Leafy Greens. and 10 Ways to Boost Your Mood with Leafy Greens. Aim to eat greens every day.


Colors Foods Benefits
Red Beets

Cherries / Cranberries

Kidney beans

Red apples and pears

Red bell peppers

Red cabbage


Red potatoes

Red quinoa



Improves memory and mood

Decrease brain fog

Improves digestion

Improves heart health

Lowers blood pressure

Orange Carrots


Peaches /apricots




Butternut squash

Sweet potatoes

Improves digestion

Boosts immunity

Helps cells communicate

Prevents cellular damage

Improves better cognitive performance reduces risk of cognitive decline

Purple Blueberries / Blackberries




Purple grapes

Purple carrots

Purple cabbage

Purple potatoes

Black quinoa

Black beans

Improves memory

Improves circulation

Boosts brain activity

Boosts immunity

Improves digestion

Blood sugar regulation

White Onions / garlic









White radishes

White beans

Reduces blood pressure

Boosts immunity

Helps new cell growth

Improves blood circulation

Helps detoxification

Protects cells

What to Do?

Which fruits and veggies do you regularly eat?  What can you add to build a rainbow in your meals?

  • Identify opportunities to make small, positive changes.
  • Find ways to build a rainbow in every meal.
  • Expand your palate and maximize the range of nutrients that are beneficial to your brain.
  • Eat for pleasure. Eat for life!

Here are a couple of ways to put more colors on your plate:

Bean Salads

Potato Salads

Grain Bowls – Wholefully

Sheet Pan Dinners – Cooking Classy

Sheet Pan Dinners

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Leslie Korn” source_title=”Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health” full_quote=”Eat all the colors of the “brainbow”. Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods from the whole color spectrum to obtain your nutrients. Preparing fresh food is an act of self-nourishment, emotionally as well as physically. The stressors of modern-day life cause us to dissociate from the simple, self-care rituals that invigorate us. Food gathering, preparation, and sharing is a ritual that when done well, leads is into a parasympathetic state of relaxation and provides the endorphin rush of attachment and connection.” short_quote=”Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods from the whole color spectrum to obtain your nutrients.”]

Next Steps

  • Aim for at least 3 – 4 colors on your plate each meal
  • List the fruits and veggies you regularly eat
  • Try 1 new veggie each week
  • Find new ways with a veggie you love
    • Breakfast smoothie
    • Grain bowl
    • Roasted, pureed, shredded
  • Share! Let me know how it goes. I’d love to cheer you on 😊

Updated from August 2021 post.

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