Eating the rainbow

ColoursThere are many things nutritionists disagree on when it comes to health, but the one thing that most of them do agree on is natural variety. That’s because different fruits and veggies have a range of different phytochemicals in them that have different benefits to the body; something that can often be simplified (in some ways) down to colour.

But what exactly are the colours of fruits and vegetables good for? Here’s what todaysdietician.com says:

  • BLUE / PURPLE

Foods:             Eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums and pomegranates

Nutrients:        High in anthocyanins; a type of antioxidant

Benefits:          These protect against heart disease and cancer

  • GREEN

Foods:             Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts

Nutrients:         Potent phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, like isothiocyanates, indoles, isothiocyanates, vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, and sulforaphane

Benefits:          These nutrients fight cancer, lower blood pressure, and prevent neural tube defects in foetuses during pregnancy

  • YELLOW / GREEN

Foods:             Avocados, kiwifruit, pistachios, spinach and other leafy greens

Nutrients:         Rich in lutein

Benefits:          Great for eye health

  • RED

Foods:             Tomatoes (especially when cooked), watermelon, grapefruit, guava, and cranberries

Nutrients:         High in vitamin C, folate, and the carotenoid, lycopene

Benefits:          Reduces cancer risk (especially in the prostate and breasts), and helps protect against heart attacks

  • YELLOW / ORANGE

Foods:             Carrots, mangoes, gem squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins

Nutrients:         High in carotenoids like beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, and alpha-carotene

Benefits:          Excellent for eye, skin, and bone health, as well as immune function, and inflammation. May also help prevent several cancers and reduce the risk of heart disease.

The nutrients present in these foods don’t mean that fruits and veggies with less colour in them are lower in nutrients either. They all have their place in a healthy diet. What it does suggest, is that painting your dinner plate with a variety of colours every night could go far in protecting your and your family’s long-term wellbeing.

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