If you're into healthy eating, you know that you should be eating all the colours of the rainbow because eating colourful, vibrant fruits and veggies will give your body all the goodness it needs right? While eating the rainbow is by no means a new concept, I've always wondered what all the colours actually do. If you're a curious creature like me then read on to find out why you should get your daily red, orange, yellow, green, blue and even white foods.
Red foods are your go-to for carotenoid and lycopene. Lyco what? Lycopene is important for preventing heart disease, atherosclerosis and cancer of the prostate, breast, lung, bladder, ovaries, colon, and pancreas. Lycopene is also used for treating human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which is a major cause of cervical cancer.
I had no idea that lycopene is actually enhanced through cooking. So try grilling some watermelon slices and serving them up with some goats cheese and mint leaves, roasting some beets, or adding some grilled cherry tomatoes or capsicum to your meals. Making dessert? Warm some strawberries for a yummy dessert topping. Want to know the best news? Red wine counts too, but everything in moderation though.
Blue & Purple
Blue and purple foods are excellent brain foods. The colour purple, in particular, is rich in anthocyanin which also helps fight off environmental toxins. If you're constantly losing things and forgetting to reply to texts like yours truly, try adding more dark blue and purple fruits and vegetables to your diet. Think blueberries, the Mack Daddy of antioxidants, packing so much free-radical fighting goodness into such a tiny package. Even the superfood expert David Wolfe swears by blueberries as a way to enhance memory and cognition as well as to help lower blood pressure.
Other blue/purple superheroes include eggplants, raisins, purple potatoes, plums, figs, blackberries, and purple and black grapes (there's that wine excuse again).
It saddens me to hear that greens are the most absent colour from the average diet, but it's also the most nutrient dense. Leafy green goodies like broccoli, spinach, bok choy, collard greens, rocket, pack a serious punch and are loaded with vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and even vitamin K too which helps regulate normal blood clotting. I love greens so much I wrote a whole blog post about them. Check out my post, The one ingredient you should be adding to every meal.
Thanks to a little compound called isothiocyanate, greens are also great for cleaning out the liver (after all that wine perhaps) and protecting your body against cancer. Add some asparagus, zucchini, green beans, artichokes and green capsicum to your list too.
Yellow & Orange
We all want that natural glow don't we? Yellow and orange foods can certainly help with that. Think lemon in your water in the morning, pineapple, turmeric, corn, mangoes, oranges, tangerines, sweet potato, papaya, rockmelon, and passion fruit to feed your skin. Orange foods are rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid giving your body a good dose of vitamin A, which is renowned for supporting good eye health. The vitamin C, potassium and folic acid found in yellow and orange foods also help your bones and teeth.
Don't throw your cauliflower out, white is still a colour! Whiteish foods like cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, celery, and even bananas are brimming with nutrition. Don't be hating on potatoes either. Sure they're a bit carby and a tad starchy, but they're also loaded with potassium, fibre as well as magnesium and iodine which you need for healthy thyroid function.