When in doubt, eat a rainbow!
For as long as memory serves, we’ve been told to eat our greens. And so we’ve done, faithfully, albeit with a slightly wrinkled nose. But as it turns out, variety is truly the spice of life. Green veggies don’t carry all the answers to life. And if you want a healthier, wholesome diet you’ve got to, basically, eat a rainbow. This means making your plate a colourful affair, with foods that go beyond green.
We’re talking purple, red, orange, yellow, blue and even white.
For Antioxidant Phytonutrients
Colourful fruits and veggies contain antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids (more on this, later in this blog) that play a key role in preventing diseases, assisting your body’s in-built detoxification system, boosting your immunity and maintaining overall health and well-being.
For Gut Health
We’ve covered this in our previous blog. Basically, your gut is home to a wide variety of healthy bacteria that play a very key role in ensuring your overall health and well-being. The best way to keep these little guys happy? A diverse diet rich in all kinds of nutrients and antioxidants.
Seriously! Whatever your dietary preferences are, adding variety in the form of colourful fruits and veggies can make the whole thing fun and so much more interesting. Because, let’s face it, “healthy eating” can get old real quick. Plus, any habit is automatically MUCH MORE sustainable when it’s got variety and an element of fun.
So, what do I eat?
We’ve broken down what to eat by colour and even added the benefits of each. Read on.
Red fruits and veggies get their colour from carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin. What do these guys do? They strengthen your immune system, enhance brain and heart health.
Eat: apples, beets, red bell peppers, cranberries, cherries, pomegranates, strawberries, plums and tomatoes.
Orange foods also get their colour from beta-carotene, and curcuminoids. These foods are important for maintaining and improving eye and skin health, as well as boosting your immune system.
Eat: carrots, apricots, oranges (duh), mangoes, pumpkin and turmeric.
Many yellow foods get their colour from flavonols like quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol. They also contain compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin. These foods are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as promoting eye, skin, brain and heart health.
Eat: pears, bananas, lemons, pineapples, squash, yellow bell peppers.
Greens contain chlorophyll and isoflavones that play a key role in maintaining brain and heart health, supporting liver function and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
Eat: avocados, asparagus, green bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchinis, green limes and green leafies (of course).
Blue & Purple
Blue and purple fruits & veggies contain compounds like anthocyanins and resveratrol. They’re primarily good for anti-inflammation, improved brain function and even cancer prevention.
Eat: blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage, eggplant, red grapes, plums, spirulina.
White & Brown
Generally, it’s said that the darker the food, the better it is. White and brown foods are the exception to this. Despite their lack of colour per se, these foods are loaded with compounds like allicin, beta-glucans, lignans, potassium and fibre, all of which are good for your heart, immunity, digestive tract and metabolism.
Eat: cauliflower, garlic, ginger, turnips, radishes, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, coconuts, flax, sunflower and hemp seeds, tahini, chickpeas and wholegrains.
All in all, the more important thing to remember when it comes to your diet is, there is no one food that can cater to ALL the needs of your body. Variety and diversity are the essence of wholesome nutrition. And the best part? You can do so much with these – from salads to dips to broths and smoothies (with a dash of your favourite Cosmix, of course!). So, tell us how you eat the rainbow!
Words by Karen Fernandes