Colour Your Diet And Eat A Rainbow!
World Health Day reminds us that it’s important to add the rainbow spectrum to our plates for optimal nutrition
A colourful diet doesn’t just look pretty, it makes us feel good too. The natural colours in food are produced by the nutrients and antioxidants they contain – all of which help to tackle ageing and boost our immune system.
The vibrant reds, bright yellows, fresh greens, and deep purples of a rainbow-coloured diet aren’t just visually appealing – each shade carries its own nutritional power! Remember that no single nutrient can do it all, so it’s critical to eat all the colours of the rainbox by incorporating an abundance of plant colours.
It’s easy to adopt an intuitive and healthy approach to our food choices. Go on and give it a go – brighten up your diet (and day) with these healthy hues!
Red: Crammed with antioxidants such as lycopene, anthocyanin, and vitamin C, red foods help ward off urinary tract infections and slow down the ageing process. Chocked full of plant compounds, they also help to counteract the effects of free radicals before tissue trauma is caused. Try: tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries, raspberries, and watermelons.
Orange and Yellow: Rich in beta carotene (a powerful antioxidant that protects against heart disease and cancer), these foods are equally great sources of vitamin C, which enables better absorption of iron and helps prevent anaemia and tiredness. Beta carotene works by boosting the response of our immune system, empowering the body to handle stressors (such as free radicals that cause oxidative damage). Try: carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, pumpkins, mangos and oranges.
Green: Dark leafy greens are bursting with chlorophyll, a plant pigment which helps to regulate hunger hormones, improve insulin levels, and inhibit pro-inflammatory compounds that give rise to disease. And here’s another little known fact about chlorophyll – it helps wounds heal faster! High in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, green foods are great for our skin, eyes, and immune system. They also provide a great source of vitamin K, which is essential for the effective absorption of calcium. Green foods are nutritional powerhouses with a low glycemic index and little calories, so don’t be afraid to load up on them! Try: lettuce, green beans, avocado, spinach, kale, kiwi fruit, and green apples.
Blue/Indigo: Containing the highest concentration of antioxidants, even just a handful of blueberries will give you an antioxidant boost more concentrated than any other fruit. Try: eggplants, blueberries, blackcurrants, raisins and prunes.
Violet: Naturally violet/purple-coloured foods have a specific antioxidant called anthocyanin, a beneficial plant pigment which gives fruits and vegetables a deep red or purple hue. Research has linked anthocyanins to better cardiovascular health, improved cognitive function (prevention of dementia), and anti-cancer health benefits (anthocyanins are responsible for preventing genetic damage, reducing inflammation, and inhabiting cancer activity such as uncontrollable cell proliferation). Try: cranberries, cherries, red cabbage, purple sweet potato, and pomegranate (its gem-like maroon-red shade is thanks to its anthocyanin content).