Anti-Inflammatory Food and Colors

The foods that help fight inflammation come in all different colors. Each color has special properties that help fight inflammation and provide a myriad of other benefits to our body. These special properties are often referred to as the large category of “phytonutrients” which is basically a fancy word for plant nutrients. There are over 100,000 phytonutrients in the plants we eat! You can learn more about phytonutrients here. The anti-inflammatory nutrients make up hundreds of those phytonutrients. The color of a plant tells us some things about which phytonurients and which anti-inflammatory nutrients that plant contains. It’s vitally important that we get a variety of colors in our diet to make sure we are getting in the wide variety of phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds that we need for optimal health. This post is all about the yellow foods and how they benefit our health.

Anti-Inflammatory Yellow Foods

Yellow Food Compounds include: Lutein, Rutin, Zeaxanthin.  These yellow compounds help yellow fruits and vegetables to provide anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits. Yellow foods also help protect our brain, eyes, skin, and heart. Some yellow food will be familiar such as lemons and bananas. But don’t be afraid to try something new like star fruit or succotash for variety. Many people shy away from corn but it actually has the highest amount of Lutein out of all our vegetables and fruits (see the research). Just remember that corn is a starch and should be paired with, not take the place of, non-starchy vegetables for a balanced meal.

Yellow Foods List:

yellow foods list


Lutein and Zeaxanthin:

Are carotenoids that require healthy fats for absorption; which means its best to eat them with a meal containing healthy sources of healthy fats. These two yellow food compounds are particularly beneficial for eye health. These orange compounds help filter blue-light waves to keep our eyes healthy and fight of macular degeneration. The American Optometric Association has more info on these carotenoids and eye health. Here is another study supporting both Lutein and Zeaxanthin in preventing and/or treating different diseases of the eyes including malignant tumors and possibly dry eyes.


A flavonoid anti-oxidant that assists with blood flow and keeps our vascular system running smoothly. Rutin is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects as well as other biological activities.  Research is currently being conducted on rutin as a potential blood clot prevention agent – but current recommendations suggest consuming it in foods until we know more.

Tips for Increasing Yellow Foods in Your Diet:

  • Add Banana slices to cereal or peanut butter sandwiches
  • Include Corn in soups and casseroles
  • Use Ginger in teas or when seasoning Asian dishes
  • Try Gold Potatoes instead of russet
  • Toss Pineapple into a healthy fruit salad
  • Choose yellow bell peppers in Mexican dishes or dip in hummus or guacamole

Don’t Be Afraid of Corn

Corn is actually a healthy food! Now of course you will want to be mindful of adding tons of butter and salt, but overall corn itself is a good choice. Many people hold beliefs about corn that are false, you can read some myths about corn here. Half a cup of corn has only 65 calories. Corn contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Although corn doesn’t always get digested completely, if you can still benefit from its many nutrients. It’s actually a good thing that some of the fibers are indigestible because that helps move things through your intestines. As mentioned above corn is extremely high in lutein and beneficial for your eye health. Keep corn limited to one-fourth of your plate along with other starchy foods (when following the plate method). Corn is a starch and should be treated as one, but you can still eat it and benefit!

Recipes to Boost Yellow Foods consumption:

Easy Pineapple Fried Rice by Emilie Eats
Oven Roasted Herb and Garlic Parmesan Potatoes by Mom on Time Out
Honey Lemon Ginger Chicken by The Recipe Critic
Orzo Salad with Starfruit Salsa by Vintage Kitty

How to Eat to Fight Inflammation

Just eating a few yellow foods each week mixed in to your normal intake of fast-foods and sweets isn’t going to get you the benefits you are after. Check out my Ultimate Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet to make sure your following the full plan for optimal results. If you’d like to not only fight inflammation and gain health; but lose weight as well, check out How to Go Low Carb the Healthy Way. You can combine the anti-inflammatory diet and low-carb meal plans together for optimal health and weight management results. Sign-up for my newsletter below to get even more tips on following the Anti-inflammatory meal plan.

yellow foods benefits

Anti-inflammatory Rainbow

I’ll be sharing information on red foods, green foods, blue and purple foods, white and brown foods, and orange foods over the next few months. Make sure to check back often or sign-up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a thing! Eating a rainbow of colors is the best way to ensure a highly anti-inflammatory diet that includes the broad spectrum of phytonutrients we need for optimal health.

What’s your favorite orange food and/or recipe? Post in the comments below!

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