The more colours you have, the more diversity you are getting – that means more antioxidants, more phytonutrients & more nutrients in general – yup, all the good stuff. There is no single coloured fruit/vege which contains everything you need.
Bottom line –you need variety to get a good mix of multiple phytochemicals.
The different colours of vegetables are due to the different pigments in each one. Each one of those will offer a different health benefit. OK, generally speaking, the darker the colour, the better the health benefits. As an example: dark green romaine lettuce is better nutritionally than a light green iceberg lettuce; or an orange sweet potato is better than a humble white potato.
Here are some ideas on what colour breakdowns do for you & some examples.
Yup, did your Mum tell you to eat your greens? She was absolutely right to! Greens reduce carcinogenic agents from the liver or put basically the liver is your bodies detox point & greens help to make it more efficient. Why? Because they are rich in chlorophyll & isothiocyanates, as well as antioxidants. In addition, if you choose cruciferous vege you are also getting Vitamin K, folic acid & potassium.
THINK: Bok choy, broccoli, cabbage or Brussel sprouts.
Purple or blue.
The anthocyanins make fruit/vegetables this colour. The are rich in antioxidants & are great for cardiovascular health. The darker the better because it means there is a higher concentration of phytochemicals in whatever you chose.
THINK: Blueberries, blackberries, plums, or eggplants
For me red fruit & vege always look the most appealing. The main pigment giving them colour is lycopene. It is a super powerful antioxidant with loads of research being done for cancer & heart attack prevention, prostate health & healthy breast tissue – pretty cool right? Red is also rich in flavonoids, resveratrol, Vitamin C & folate, which are all amazing for your health.
THINK: cranberries, cherries, tomatoes, watermelons, grapes, or guava.
Absolutely fabulous for eye health! Why? Due to the high amounts of lutein. This is great for everyone, but especially the elderly who are prone to macular degeneration issues. Often green/yellow coloured fruits & vege are also high in Vitamin C.
THINK: avocados, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, spinach or pistachio nuts.
These contain carotenoids or beta-carotene. These are what gives that yellow/orange colour or sometimes a reddish tinge. These are rich in Vitamin A & retinol, which is great for strong immune function & healthy vision.
FYI great for wrinkle prevention BUT don’t go overboard eating this, as you will develop an orange shade to your skin & eyeballs due to the high consumption rate!
THINK: pumpkin, carrots, apricots, or mango.
OK, I have told you about colour but what about when there is no colour on the inside – like eggplant? Flavonoids are colourless, so they will still be valuable assets when helping the body counter free radical formation … so yup, still winners.
Sadly, beige is a favourite food colour for many. THINK: highly processed foods, battered foods, or fried foods. Often these foods are cheap, readily available & tasty, but are filled with ingredients that don’t do you any favours in the health department. Often leading to lifestyle diseases such as cholesterol, hypertension, & diabetes to name just a few.
But beige is tricky. Why? Because there are some healthy beige foods such as grains, which have been around for so long, they are often referred to as ancient grains.
THINK: quinoa, bulgur or farro.
Next time you do your shopping, whether it is at the supermarket or the Farmers Markets, remember to take a look at what is in your basket. If it is all green, swap some out for a different colour. Look for a rainbow of colour in that shopping basket/trolley.
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