Posted on April 09, 2021 by Kate Halsall
Has your food looked a little beige lately? Adding more colour to your meals not only makes your plate look more attractive, but it could help to ensure you get a range of nutrients. The British Heart Foundation suggests that the natural compounds (phytochemicals) that give fruit and vegetables their colour may also provide some additional health benefits. So here’s why you should eat a rainbow – or at least some of it!
Think cherries, pomegranate, red peppers, tomatoes, red grapes……
The antioxidant Lycopene gives red fruits their colour. Some studies have shown that this can help to prevent certain types of cancer, lower the risk of heart attacks and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Yellow & Orange
Yellow & orange peppers, lemons, mango, carrots, butternut squash…….
Beta-carotene gives yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their colour and this is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. There are also studies that suggest these “carotenoids” (pigments) can also be beneficial for heart health.
Apples, avocados, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwi fruit, limes, spinach…..
Whilst green fruit and veg get their colour from a plant pigment called “chlorophyll,” many green vegetables contain other nutrients, such as lutein or B vitamin folate. Lutein has been proven to have beneficial effects on eye health and folate helps the body form healthy red blood cells.
Purple & Blue
Aubergines, blueberries, beetroot, purple grapes, red cabbage ……..
BBC Food states that the “anthocyanins” which colours the fruit and vegetables purple or blue, have been linked to a wide variety of health claims, including increased longevity, cardiovascular health, and cancer prevention. That’s before we even get to listing all the great vitamins and minerals in them and what they do for the body!
There’s an old saying which says “we eat with our eyes”. A vibrant plate of food will impact your experience of it, even before you’ve had chance to taste it! In order to eat the rainbow, try to incorporate two to three different coloured fruits or vegetables on your plate at every meal. We’re not saying that you have to eat every single colour every single day, we are advising to try to get them into your diet a few times per week.