'Taste The Rainbow' But Not Because Skittles Said To

'Taste The Rainbow' But Not Because Skittles Said To

The health benefits of eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables

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Does everyone know that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but do you know why they are considered to be nutritious?

Some may believe the answer is because they have low caloric value, which isn't wrong but they provide so much more. They possess phytochemicals.

Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds found in plant foods that provide the fruit and vegetables their color, taste, and odor. More than that, each phytochemical comes with its health benefits.

There are seven mechanisms of action or ways that phytochemicals are beneficial to our health.

They can either act as antioxidants which help to prevent damage to healthy cells, anti-inflammatory, chemo-preventative, support our immune system, trigger apoptosis or programmed cell death, protect our DNA, regulate hormones and finally, some may have the ability for specific actions, such as inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria.

Below is a list of phytochemicals:

1. Carotene 

Alpha and beta carotene give fruits and vegetables an orange or yellow color. Some examples of foods that are high in beta carotene are sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers of those colors.

Carotene, when ingested, is converted into Vitamin A that your body can easily absorb and utilize. Carotene has been scientifically proven to help eye and heart health as well as support our immune system by acting as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and possessing chemo-preventive factors.

2. Lycopene 

Think tomatoes. The phytochemical lycopene is responsible for the red color in whole plant foods. The health effects are acting as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, chemo-preventative but also good for DNA and urinary tract health. What's cool about lycopene is that no matter how you prepare your food, you don't lose any of the nutrients.

3. Chlorophyll 

Eat your greens. Chlorophyll-rich foods appear green. Some excellent sources include dark leafy greens and broccoli. Chlorophyll, like the other phytochemicals are known to be antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and chemo-preventative. Choosing foods that have a rich and vibrant color indicate that is a good source of that phytochemical.

So, next time you're in the produce aisle, be sure to choose your colors wisely.

4. Anthocyanin

Anthocyanins are those foods that are red, blue and purple. Any type of berry is an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants combat damage to cells by helping balance those that are unstable. Cells become unsteady when they have an uneven pairing of protons and electrons so antioxidants essentially give an electron to the cells that need it.

5. Reservatrol

The color purple. Just as every phytochemical mentioned, resveratrol contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and chemo-preventative agents. That's the beauty of phytochemicals. Reservartrol also takes it a step further to help brain and bone health. Studies have proven that eating foods rich in resevatrol also help to protect against age-related diseases.

If you want to learn more about the health benefits of phytochemicals, please check out this wonderful book!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.

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Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.


Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.


Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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