Be Cool with Blue

a92df2c66e194396a01a3928baab57fbThe Color Psychology of Blue

Although it is often overlooked and often unappreciated, colors play a very big part in our life.  God has truly blessed us with color and for good reason.  Before I deal with how the color blue benefits us physically, I would like to touch on how the color blue effects behavior.

  1. The color blue symbolizes qualities such as depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, heaven, tranquillity, calmness, and sincerity.
  2. Blue conveys a subtle connotation of importance and confidence and is associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism.

Blue is one of the most popular colors with both male and female alike, but it is one of the least appetizing colors.  We aren’t generally attracted to blue foods.  Some weight loss plans even recommend eating your food off of a blue plate because interestingly some believe blue suppresses one’s appetite. Blue rarely occurs naturally in food aside from blueberries and some plums.  If you are trying to lose some weight, and try the blue plate method and it works, let me know.  Another way is to just use a smaller plate.

Physiological & Physical Benefits:

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  • Blue can also lower the pulse rate and body temperature.  As a collective color, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that sooth and calm the senses. Peacefulness and tranquility are qualities of blue that causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms.
  • Blue tends to regulate your cortisol and adrenoline levels that activate fight and flight response and may help you recover from stress more quickly.  Each individual has his/her own level of stress tolerance. When stress acts as a positive motivating force it is termed eustress. When it acts as a negative force it is termed distress. Stress only becomes a problem when it is chronic or severe. Stress plays a very crucial role in a multitude of negative human health behaviors. Chronic stress tends to erode coping mechanisms.
  • The blue/purple hues in foods are due primarily to their anthocyanin content. The darker the blue hue, the higher the phytochemical concentration.  Anthocyanins are antioxidants that are particularly heart healthy and may help support healthy blood pressure. Anthocyanins that give fruits their distinctive colors that may help ward off heart disease by preventing clot formation. They may also help lower risk of cancer.
  • Blue was believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain.
  • Blue promotes the healing of burns and wounds.

What is the Blue color?

food-sources-anthocyanins-gnowfglins-blueAnthocyanins (also anthocyans; from Greekἀνθός (anthos) = flower + κυανός (kyanos) = blue) are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH.  Their purpose is to isolating materials that might be harmful or a threat to the cell by participating in the destruction of invading bacteria.  Vacuole are essentially enclosed compartments within a cell that are filled with water containing inorganic and organic molecules including enzymes in solution, though in certain cases they may contain solids which have been engulfed.  Anthocyanins play a role in the colors of ripening fruit.

Anthocyanins have been shown to act as a “sunscreen”, protecting cells from high-light damage by absorbing blue-green and ultraviolet light, thereby protecting the tissues from high-light stress.  They are found mostly in flowers and fruits but also in leaves, stems, and roots.

Antioxidants protect cells from damage and have important disease-fighting compounds. Antioxidants are actually powerful buffers to the unwanted various chemical reactions that occur in the human body.  Scientists believe they help prevent and repair the stress that comes from oxidation, a natural process that occurs during normal cell function.  They may help reduce risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

On the Antioxidant Color Wheel, the purple-blue-red-orange spectrum is home to the most antioxidant-rich fruits.  Wild blueberries are the winner overall. Just one cup has 13,427 total antioxidants – vitamins A & C, plus flavonoids (types of antioxidants) like quercetin – a flavonoid (plant pigment) – and anthocyanidin.

Quercetin Supports:

  1. Normal Respiratory Health – When your respiratory system is irritated, redness and swelling can result from the release of histamines, and quercetin has been reported to have an antihistamine effect. Lab tests have shown quercetin influences intracellular enzymes and may help inhibit histamine release.
  2. Cardiovascular Health – First, it encourages blood flow.  Secondly, researchers have observed that quercetin’s antioxidant action protects against LDL cholesterol oxidation.
  3. Balances Blood Pressure – quercetin naturally promotes balanced blood pressure.
  4. Protection Against Stress – when your stress levels are high and ongoing, cortisol can damage muscle tissue, leading to protein breakdown in the body, quercetin can fight these effects during times of extended stress as it suppresses the enzyme necessary for cortisol release.
  5. Upper Respiratory Conditions – quercetin caused a relaxation of the airway smooth muscle, leading researchers to suggest it may offer therapeutic solutions for persons suffering from upper respiratory conditions.

Resveratrol – is a polyphenolic/antioxidant compound is primarily found in the skin of grapes.  It directly up-regulates the tissue that forms a single layer of cells lining various organs and cavities of the body, esp. the blood vessels, heart, and lymphatic vessels in original cells.

  1. This nutrient relaxes blood vessels that increase the diameter of blood vessels and also dilutes the blood.  This helps increases the blood flow through blood vessels smoothly towards the heart.  There is extensive epidemiological evidence suggesting that dietary intake of these compounds reduces cardiovascular mortality.  Studies show inhibition of platelet aggregation.  High Resveratrol provides grapes anti-cancer property. This powerful antioxidant plays a protective role against cancers of colon and prostate, coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections. It contains anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin compounds that inhibit the growth of cancer cell.
  2. It offers protection against disease, especially fungal infections.  Research shows that resveratrol acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.  In recent studies, scientists found that resveratrol may stimulate the expression of adiponectin (a hormone shown to possess anti-obesity properties and fight insulin resistance.). Obesity, too, makes you prone to inflammation, as fat cells churn out inflammatory proteins called cytokines “cyto” meaning cell and “kinos” meaning movement, are (proteins with a sugar attached) that alter the immune system response.
  3. High Resveratrol provides anti-cancer properties. This powerful antioxidant plays a protective role against cancers of colon and prostate, coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections. It helps inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
  4. Suppresses cancerous cell’s power of division and growth.  One study shows resveratrol helped prevent estrogen from reacting with DNA molecules and forming compounds that mark the start of cancer cell formation for genetic influences.
  5. Stimulates Mitochondria activity where biochemical processes of respiration and energy production occurs.
  6. Resveratrol reduces stroke risk by altering the molecular mechanisms inside the blood vessels. It does so, firstly by reducing the susceptibility of blood vessel through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would otherwise elevate blood pressure) and secondly, through a beneficial compound that causes relaxation of blood vessels)
  7. Keeping your heart healthy and improving elasticity in your blood vessels
  8. Normalizing your anti-inflammatory response decreasing system inflammation
  9. Helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Loss of cognition as we age is not normal. Our brain is highly susceptible to the damaging effects of inflammation, free radicals and insulin resistance.

Putting it all together:  Although Blue is not a bright cheery color, the color blue has positive effects on the mind and the body. Blue can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming and offer a tranquility of the spirit and encourages rest.

On a spiritual note:  12061175c8ff5a31b29dd18d08d7728aWe have talked about how blue provides us with a calming and restful presence that soothes and can cause the body to be at peace.  The creator of blue knew what He was doing for our physical need.  John 14:27 (KJV) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  The only way to find true peace is through Jesus Christ.  He is the Prince of Peace.

My prayer for you is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 – Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord [be] with you all.

Plants rich in anthocyanins are: blueberry, cranberry, bilberry, Rubus berries, black raspberry, red raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, cherry, eggplant peel, black rice, Concord grape, muscadine grape, red cabbage, and violet petals.

How does the color blue make you feel?  Do you like blue foods?  Which ones?

If you appreciated this information, share it with others.

Sources:

Global Healing Center

 

How Color Affects Us

syn_sensory-inputThe Language of Color

Did you know that color has a language all of its own?  Color has a profound effect on the mind and behavior and body.  All color is energy and it has a physical effect on us.  The reactions to color can be predicted with startling accuracy.  Depending on our personality type, there is a potential effect towards positive or negative psychologically.

This question pertains to the condition known as synesthesia. This condition describes how our senses work together. For example – with respect to sight, taste and smell – seeing a color may evoke any number of other sensations.  Color plays a multitude of roles in the natural world, used to entice, to camouflage, or to warn other creatures. Colors signal harvest time, breeding conditions, and the change of seasons, from the first greens of spring to the brilliant, beautiful reds and browns of the fall.  Each sense has a pathway to the brain.  These paths are parallel to each other as you can see from the illustration.  Flavonoids are incredible sensory chemicals.  Just as flavonoids are not just for the attraction of insects, they also send signals to us.  Green may bring strong images or memories of the smell of grass, lemon yellow may recall a sour taste. Pink may convey sweetness and so on.

In this series, we will explore the effects that color has on us and how each sense and its pathway to the brain is involved and interconnected and how it communicates messages to us on a psychological and physical level.

On a psychological level – brain-happy-chemicalsColor plays a vitally important role in the world in which we live. Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure or suppress your appetite. When used in the right ways, color can even save on energy consumption.  As a powerful form of communication, color is irreplaceable. Red means “stop” and green means “go.”  Brain chemistry is only now being understood to a greater level.  There is a dance of neurotransmitters and hormones inside your body determine the bulk of your moods and personal satisfaction. As a society we’ve gradually shut down the production of these substances with our diet and lifestyle choices. The result has been a dramatic increase in depression, eating disorders, suicide rates, substance abuse, and general unhappiness that affects every part of your daily life.

On a physical level:  1a361f64fb6e97b67f2ad8f1853efd0aHave you noticed the central role food plays in your life? From the time we are born, we develop a deep association linking food with emotions.  We move through life linking food to emotions. We celebrate holidays, weddings, graduations, and promotions with food.  We use food to express, suppress, and deal with love and we drown our sorrows and many other emotions. Food powers your life. It fuels all bodily processes that enables you to move, think, and breathe. There is no aspect of your life that is not influenced by what you eat.  Consider how strength, agility, coordination, endurance, speed and level of performance are all powered by the foods you eat. Natural food gives natural energy.  What you eat determines how you tackle your daily physical activities, including housework, your job, school, homework, shopping, caring for a family and exercise.  Eating healthy enables body movements to be executed with ease. A poor diet with unhealthy food choices can make each movement a major effort filled with stress, strain, and pain.  Which lifestyle sounds like the way you would like to live?  It isn’t easy to change the habits of lifestyle.  We sometimes need help.  Jumpstart your health with a good supplement of your choice.  Just make sure it is a good, reliable brand.

Color Affects Taste and Smell.  Nature has a clever way to highlight the nutrients in foods: different nutrients actually impart different colors to the foods they’re in and as they ripen they produce a scent.  Just the sight of food fires neurons in the hypothalamus, the front part of the brain that coordinates both the autonomic nervous system and the activity of the pituitary, controlling body temperature, thirst, hunger, and other homeostatic systems, and involved in sleep and emotional activity.  If you ask my daughter, my shopping partner, how she would describe her grocery shopping experience with me, she would probably elaborate on my attention given to this one small area of the store with all of the brilliant colors in the fruits and vegetables in the produce section.  I spend most of my time there salivating with excitement on the experience I will have in eating these bright-colored foods.  The sense of life drops considerably when proceeding to the other areas of the store.  Are you drawn to certain colored foods?   

Pigmentation in Plants th-10

In plants, these substances provide pigmentation and help filter UV rays. They also help protect the plants from microbe, fungus, and insect attacks; and help plants survive frost and droughts. Additionally, they help promote or inhibit the growth of certain plant parts, including seeds and pollen tubes, and are used as chemical signals to tell plant cells when to stop or start doing things.  Flavonoids are a group of plant metabolites thought to provide health benefits through cell signalling pathways and antioxidant effects.  They are essential pigments for producing the colors needed to attract pollinating insects.  These biological pigments are pigments produced by living organisms. They can be found in many plants, including flowers and even in our skinBacteria are colored by pigments. All biological pigments selectively absorb certain wavelengths of light while reflecting others.

Color arises frcb44cdb9ab9c2fe681a397607b3e5c17om the way the pigments react with light.  Biological pigments in plants exist in a wide variety of forms, some with highly complex and large structures. Over 600 naturally occurring carotenoid structures have been identified, as well as over 7,000 flavonoids, including over 500 anthocyanins.

I am excited to raise a whole new appreciation for our colorful world and all of its bounty and benefits.  All color comes from light.  Consider where the light comes from.  From the word of this light, all of creation and its beauty was made.  Genesis 1:3, 31 says. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light…31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
Sources:

  1. Color Matters
  2. Causes of Color
  3. Daily Super Food Love

Yellow, The Vision Vitamin

I start this Color Me Beautiful series with the color yellow.

Yellow is the most visible color and is the first color the human eye notices!  Yellow’s stimulating nature and high visibility to the eye is the reason why many road signs are bold yellow (contrasted by black text).  This is another reason why restaurants use the color yellow in their signs.  It is known to stimulate appetite and triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness, warm like the sun.  Maybe this is why we feel so good when the sun is out.

th-9Likewise, I hope this Color Me Beautiful series stimulates you to introduce and increase your plate with more of the colors of the rainbow.
Imagine with me why certain fast food places use yellow and red colors;  Take Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), McDonald’s, Burger King and the other fast food establishments in the image on the left for instance.  These colors are just one marketing ploy that are eye-catching and get your attention to roll in to their establishment for that quick fast food.  Why not stick with real fast yellow food?  Here are some really good reasons why?

Yellows come from The Latin word Lutein lutes means “yellow”.

This plant chemical is geared to protect the eyes by modulating light energy.  The yellow color of the human macula lutea (literally, yellow spot) in the retina
(from Latin rēte, meaning “net”) of the eye is the third and inner coat of the eye which is a light-sensitive layer of tissue. results from the lutein and zeaxanthin it contains.

Lutein nicknamed “the eye vitamin,” is a carotenoid antioxidant phytonutrient (plant nutrient), which ranges from yellow to red pigments.  It is an essential nutrient for normal vision.

Eye protection – The central part of the retina, called the macula, contains macular pigments in which lutein is concentrated. The yellow coloured pigments protect the retina from damage of the photo-oxidative affect of high-energy light.

Heart health – Lutein can also reduce the risk for artery diseases. Studies have shown that persons with the highest lutein intake showed the lowest artery wall thickening.

Skin protection – Lutein can also reduce the risk of skin cancer and sunburn.

Digestion – Yellow foods are associated with digestion.  Proper digestion allows for the absorption and assimilation of nutrients, so your body can function and carry out the countless chemical reactions it needs to on an ongoing basis. Nutrients from foods you eat provide your body with the energy it needs to run, walk, eat, breathe, and read these words. When the process of digestion is impaired, nutrient imbalance and deficiency can result, leaving your body without the fuel it needs to function properly. Over time, there can be downstream effects of ill health such as lowering your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, constipation, and colon cancer..

Carotene is a pigment that absorbs blue and indigo light, and that provides rich yellows and oranges.

benefits-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthinLutein and Zeaxanthin (fat soluble) are carotenoids that are found in relatively high concentrations in the retina.  Lutein’s yellow color blocks blue (UV) light from absorption.  Because the macula is yellow in colour it absorbs excess blue and ultraviolet light that enter the eye, and acts as a natural sunblock (analogous to sunglasses) for this area of the retina.  Both Lutein and Zeaxanthin helps protect the eye from ultra-violet (UV) damage, and prevents free-radical damage to the retina and the lens of the eye that is associated with diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.  Studies have also indicated that lutein improves heart health, protects our skin against UV damage, reduces diabetes induced oxidative stress, and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the liver, ovaries, pancreas, kidneys, spleen, testes, adrenals, and many eye tissues.

002f0eccb487f585c82aa61ff8e6be0cYellow foods are commonly considered the eyesight foods because they contain vitamin A. Beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A, is a component of these foods as well.   Since eyesight is dependent on the presence of vitamin A, it is considered the “vision vitamin.”  Our eyes use the yellow pigment lutein as an antioxidant, especially in the macula, in the center of the retina at the back of the eye contains a lot of lutein.  This protects the eyes from the UV sunlight rays.    It also also seems to lower the risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).  Vitamin A also help strengthen your immune system and prevent infections like the common colds. Moreover, this nutrient is also one of the best substances that can help you age gracefully.  In addition, they may have high levels of vitamin C, and some contain omega-3 fatty acids according to Kasik-Miller, a clinical dietitian at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

…Natural Sunblock (think yellow/orange-red like the sun) The yellow pigment, lutein, is also known to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight.  Our skin uses the yellow pigment lutein to recharge the antioxidants that protect the glands that make the oily lubricant that keeps the skin supple and wrinkle-free.  If we consume our leafy greens and other yellow pigment foods, these protective antioxidants protect our skin from oxidative damage.  This is why our ancestors most likely did not use sunscreen lotions.  Antioxidants reduce the risk of many health problems associated with aging, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and others.

Avoid-sunburn-and-tan-more-easily-by-eating-real-food
Click image to follow link

Sunlight is very important for our skin.  Americans tend to be deficient in Vitamin D3 because we are inside more than we are outside. Please visit my Vitamin D Council board for more information about this topic.  Americans are also afraid of the sun lathering up with all those sun screens.  If we are wise and respect the power of the sun, there is no need to buy all those chemically filled sunscreens that short-circuit the benefits of the suns rays that create an atmosphere that brings damage to the skin.  Here are other sunscreen options.

Yellow appears to have important antioxidant functions in the body including vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin E that guard the body from damaging effects that can destroy cells and play a role in many diseases

….Yellow was thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body in light therapy treatment.

…The cream to light yellow crystalline solid (Ellagic Acid) may help protect against cancer by neutralizing the cancer- causing chemicals.  Surprisingly, Ellagic Acid is hidden under the red color of a number strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranates.  It also helps by reducing DNA damage and helps regulate blood sugar response.  But studies of this acid have mainly been done in the laboratory, so its benefits for human health is an unknown.
Yellow lutein may help protect against atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty deposits in arteries), the disease that leads to most heart attacks.
Yellow lutein is a carotenoid with antioxidant properties. It’s known to reduce oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals in various organs, including your skin.
Yellow (under the color green) ~ Lutein

Another interesting fact about yellow is how it is hidden under the top layers of green serveimage-39in your leafy greens – they have 15-47% of lutein, but a very low content (0-3%) of zeaxanthin.  This is why we get the different colors of tree leaves in the fall.  This means that those leafy greens also contain this yellow pigment to bring you all of the great benefits of this beautiful nutrient.  The body cannot absorb lutein without the help of fat, so when eating your leafy green salads or smoothies, include a type of fat like Avocado, coconut oil, or a nut of your choice.

Zeaxanthin – xanthin, a yellow coloring carotenoid present in the retina of the eye and in many plants.

The two major carotenoids in the human macula and retina are lutein and zeaxanthin.  In our periphery vision, Zeaxanthin declines more rapidly than lutein.

On a Spiritual note:  There exists an old saying in American culture: “The eyes are a window to the soul.”  Matthew 6:22 (KJV) says, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Let your eyes feast on this yellow that can trigger the feelings of happiness and friendliness, warmth like the sun.

serveimage-38Take care in what you allow your eyes to see.  May the light of the Lord’s words help you to be a light bringing sunshine to someone else as Matthew 5:16 (KJV) says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Yellow Fruits & Vegetables and some quantities of either Lutein or Zeaxanthin or both:

 

  1. Yellow bell peppers – low amount of lutein (12%) but no Zeaxanthin. The highest amount of Zeaxanthin (8% Lutein 37% Zeaxanthin = 45% total) was found in Orange Peppers.  
  2. Yellow zucchini (or vegetable marrow – 30-52%) These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals
  3. Yellow tomatoes (39%-sun dried)
  4. Maize (Sweet corn) – (60% of lutein and 25% of zeaxanthin)
  5. Bananas – the banana skin contains lutein.  Some people prefer to boil the peel for 10 minutes or so before eating it, putting it through a juicer or blending it with other fruits. In Asian countries, banana peels are cooked with their flesh or fried on their own.  Banana peels are packed full of serotonin which boosts your mood and helps you feel happy. Some studies have shown that in just three days, eating 2 banana peels can raise your serotonin level by nearly 15%. Plus, the banana peel can help you sleep easier because of the tryptophan found in it. Tryptophan is the sleep-inducing amino acid.  Bananas contain pectins and fructooligosaccharides(FOS). Pectins have been studied for their effects on blood sugar levels, and FOS is a prebiotic that provides food for the healthy bacteria in your lower intestine.

6. Lemon (10.344ug) – lutein may help protect against atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty deposits in arteries), the disease that leads to most heart attacks.

7. Squash – (2401.3μg/1 cup) listed in the top ten for lutein and zeaxanthin

8. Grapefruit (10.169ug)

9. Mellon – 27.058ug honeydue; 26.25ug cantalope

10. Apples with skin (28.985ug)

11. Pears – (78.32 mcg)

12. Pineapple contains bromelain, a proteolytic substance that breaks down proteins, and it therefore can aid in digestion.  Look for pineapples that are heavy for their size, free of soft spots, bruises, and darkened areas, and they should have a fragrant, sweet smell at the stem.

NOTE: BEST FOODS FOR LUTEIN AND ZEAXANTHIN: (As noted above, green leafy foods surprisingly contain these beneficial nutrients)  

Kale, spinach (47 mole% lutein), Swiss chard, collard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, beet greens, radicchio, summer squash (all varieties), watercress, green peas, persimmons, winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc.), pumpkin, broccoli (22 mole%), brussels sprouts (27 mole%), lettuce (22 mole% – especially dark lettuces), asparagus, corn, green beans, okra, artichokes, green bell peppers.