Pennington studying beneficial effects of colorful fruits and vegetables

“Eat and drink the rainbow” is the way one nutritional researcher advises people to eat for good health.

That’s “rainbow” as in colorful fruits and vegetables, said Dr. William Cefalu, director of the Botanical Research Center at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“Last time I looked, french fries are beige,” he said.

Colorful fruits and vegetables have phytochemicals, chemical compounds considered to have beneficial health effects.

“Why does an apple a day keep the doctor away?” Cefalu said, referring to the old maxim.

“That’s part of what the Botanical Center is all about — trying to understand what it is about the apple that keeps the doctor away,” he said.

Researchers are finding evidence that red apples, which contain photochemicals called anthocyanins, are protective against cardiovascular disease and cancer.