The lecturer, a soft-spoken woman radiating sincerity and warmth was especially impressive. And so was her topic: “Proper nutrition as a bridge to health and longevity.”
As I listened I found myself deeply affected by Eva Rona’s amazing message – that proper nutrition is inextricably linked to the color of the food! She explained that colors don’t just make food pretty but provide various vital nutrients, and that specific nutrients have specific colors. The deeper the color of a food item, the more of that nutrient it contains. She then proceeded to detail the scientific basis of each color and its health benefits. Red in tomatoes, watermelons, pink grapefruit, and red/purple in grapes, red wine, blueberries, strawberries and apples means that these foods are rich in lycopene and anthocyanin. Anthocyanin in strawberries, raspberries, red grapes and other fruits acts as powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage. “Antioxidants are linked with keeping our hearts healthy, too,” she pointed out and continued with an encouraging smile towards her elderly audience: “Other studies have shown that eating blueberries is linked with improved memory function and healthy aging.”
The audience listened with rapt attention as she introduced other colors in food and their health benefits. “Orange in carrots, mangoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkins is a sign that they contain alpha- and beta-carotenes, thought to improve cell-to-cell communication. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes,” she explained. “Scientists have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease and can improve immune system function,” she revealed, adding: “One study found that people who ate a diet high in carotenoid-rich vegetables were forty three percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, an eye disorder common among the elderly, which can lead to blindness.”
“Orange/yellow in oranges, tangerines, papayas, and nectarines indicates vitamin C and beta-cryptoxanthin, another carotenoid compound, while yellow/green in spinach and other greens, yellow corn, green peas, and avocados are rich sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which contribute to eye health. Green in broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choi, and kale indicates sulforaphane, isothiocyanate, and indoles, which stimulate liver genes to make compounds that break down cancer-causing chemicals. White/green in onion, garlic, celery, pears, white wine, endive and chives reveals that they are rich in flavonoids that protect cell membranes,” she concluded to enthusiastic applause.
Who is this woman with such remarkable expertise in nutrition? Is she a medical practitioner? I would soon find out that Eva Rubin Rona, born in Oradea, Rumania, is a talented writer who received a degree in journalism and foreign translation at the Bucharest University and has been working for the press in Rumania, then in Israel, ever since.
She is also an author of two very popular volumes, We, the Twins and Unusual Encounters. The former an autobiography telling the tale of her and twin sister Agnes’ survival of their mother’s early passing, their father’s slaughter in Auschwitz and their own incarceration in Rawensbrück.
In 1947 Eva met and married Andras Rosu, a university professor, in Oradea. Soon she became a mother to son, Tamas, who completed his degree in economics before settling in Israel. At present he lives with his growing family in Rishon L’Zion.
Following her marriage, Eva Rubin changed her last name to Rona – all her writing appears under that name. In Israel, she became the editor of the Hungarian journal Weekly Mirror, simultaneously serving as writer of the column, “Home Therapy” – the source of her abiding interest in nutrition.
At present, writer, journalist, nutritionist and lecturer Eva Rona is also a regular contributor to the Hungarian-language daily, Ujkelet, conveying her love of Israel and knowledge of nutrition to her readers.