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Pigmented Foods

Dietician Bites & June 2023 Pigmented Foods

Dietician Bites By Denice Hynd RD, MPH

Recipe and Image by Brianda Younggren, MPH 6/2023

Happy Summer PD Community! This month's nutrition focus will highlight the importance of deeply pigmented produce. What does that mean? Fruit and vegetables that are deeply pigmented have rich pigments both on their exteriors and on their interiors. For example: tomatoes are both red on their skins and in their flesh, blueberries are blue throughout, spinach and kale are pigmented with deep rich greens whereas green apples are only green on their outside, and cucumbers match those of green apples. 

Image by Brianda Younggren, MPH 6/2023

Why are these pigments important? 

Rich colors like the ones described are filled with phytochemicals and antioxidants, which are known to be neuro protective. They help protect against oxidative stress as seen in dementia, PD, and in all diseased states. You can eat these pigments raw or cooked, but we absorb more of their nutrition, specifically their fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) when we eat them in the presence of fat. Avocado, almonds, cashews, nut butter, olive oil, are excellent additions. In addition to these chemical compounds, the foods that carry these rich pigments are also an excellent source of bound water, helping us stay hydrated through the summer and they offer fiber as well! Both the water and the fiber are beneficial for gut health and to alleviate and protect against constipation that affects some of our PD friends. 

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