Nutritional Guide Glossary


These are some of the powerful disease-fighting compounds contained in the fruits and vegetables that are listed in the Burpee Rainbow Chart.

 Allylic Sulfur Compounds (also called Organosulfides):
Sulfur-containing compounds in garlic, onions and other similar aromatic vegetables, which help reduce blood cholesterol, and are linked to a reduced rick of stomach and colon cancer.

Antioxidant plant pigments that give strawberries, beets and other plants their color and help protect against heart disease by discouraging cholesterol production in the body.

A substance that prevents harmful molecules called "free radicals" from attacking cells and damaging DNA. Free radicals are a cause of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases.

An antioxidant plant pigment that the body converts to vitamin A, as needed. Beta-carotene and vitamin A are both powerful cancer-fighters. Populations who take in higher levels of beta-carotene have a lower risk for cancer and heart disease.

A group of plant pigments that gives fruits and vegetables their yellow, orange and reddish hues. All are antioxidants, and three—alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin—are converted to vitamin A in the body. Green vegetables are often high in carotenoids; green chlorophyll masks the carotenoid pigments.

 Cruciferous vegetables:
Members of the cabbage family named after their four-petaled flowers, which look like a cross (crucifer). These vegetables are not exactly identical nutritionally, but all contain cancer-fighting compounds called isothiocyanates and indoles. Eaten regularly, they have been linked to a decreased risk for cancer.

 Daily Value (DV):
A term developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which appears on food labels. The DV for vitamins and minerals is based on the Recommended Daily Allowances and covers the nutritional needs of most of the population.

 Ellagic acid:
A plant compound that detoxifies and traps carcinogens; lab animal research shows that it protects against cancers of the esophagus, liver and skin.

 Folic acid:
A B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects and lowers blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid (building block of protein) linked to heart disease.

Compounds found in cruciferous vegetables and other plants, which fight cancer by bolstering the body's system for destroying cancer-causing agents.

Plant compounds plentiful in cruciferous vegetables, which protect against cancer by raising levels of enzymes, which detoxify cancer-causing agents.

A yellow carotenoid antioxidant plant pigment. Lutein and another yellow carotenoid, zeaxanthin, are the dominant pigments in the eye, and research indicates they protect eyes from disease. Studies show that people who have the most lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich diets are at lower risk for developing macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. These two carotenoids are also linked to a decreased risk of cataracts.

A red carotenoid pigment that colors tomatoes and watermelon. Studies show that men who get the most lycopene are at a lower risk for prostate cancer than those taking the least. Lycopene is also linked to lower risk of breast cancer and heart disease.

Naturally occurring compounds in plant-based foods. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of phytochemicals are beneficial, helping ward off cancer, heart disease, and other ills.

A type of isothiocyanate that, in lab animal research, has been shown to both help prevent cancer and decrease the number of cancer tumors.

A yellow carotenoid pigment that fights eye disease (see "Lutein").


Turning your garden into a nutritional goldmine is as easy as identifying the colors of the rainbow.
Simply choose one or more vegetables or fruits from each color group on the chart inside for a bumper crop of cancer and heart-disease fighting nutrients.

Here's what each color group has to offer:

They are top-notch sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds linked to protection from eye disease. Many of these foods are also rich in beta-carotene, folic acid and minerals.

Their beautiful color comes courtesy of beta-carotene, the antioxidant linked to decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.

Foods in this category are rich in anthocyanin which research has shown can help prevent cancer and reduce the formation of artery-clogging plaque (a cause of heart disease).

Ultra-protective foods that fall under this category contain compounds which help destroy cancer-causing agents.

A few Burpee plants didn't fit into any of these categories, but are still nutrition powerhouses.