You must have heard that we should all eat our greens. However, it’s much more important for all of us to eat a rainbow. Not skittles or M&Ms in fact, but a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colour! “Why?” you ask? Let me explain 🙂
Plants have various components such as phytonutrients which give them the colours that they possess. These include chemicals such as chlorophyll and phenols. It’s also an indicator of some vitamins, minerals and fibre that are present. Plants also use colours as their protective mechanisms, protecting themselves from the sun and pests but also to attract insects and birds to aid in pollination.
Phytonutrients affect human health but are not considered essential for life such as carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. They do have quite a few benefits, however! For instance, they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Phytonutrients stimulate enzymes which help the body eliminate toxins, boost immunity, promote healthy metabolism, cardiovascular health and may also enhance intercellular communication and repair DNA damage. Each phytonutrient gives plants a different colour and has different properties. So, if you want to get all the possible benefits of different phytonutrients, you should aim to eat a variety of fruit and veg of different shades!
Yes, eating your greens is important, but so is your red, purple, blue, green, yellow and white fruits and vegetables! Although we may already be prone to selecting orange carrots, green courgettes and red tomatoes, why not mix it up the next time you do your weekly shop? Go out of your comfort zone and buy some yellow tomatoes, purple carrots and yellow courgettes. Think outside the box and visit your farmer’s market- stock up on goodies you’ve never tried before and let your body enjoy the rainbow! Buy new herbs and a selection of nuts and seeds and keep those colourful phytonutrients flowing.
To help you get started- here are some great colourful options:
Tomatoes, beetroot, watermelon, strawberries, red peppers, raspberries,cranberries, cherries, goji berries, pomegranate, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb.
Banana, lemon, corn, peppers, pineapple, ginger, squash, yellow courgettes, honeydew melon, yellow tomatoes.
Carrots, mangos, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, red lentils, turmeric, oranges, tangerines.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bean sprouts, celery, cucumber, edamame, green beans, green peas, green tea, lettuce, spinach, limes, olives.
White, brown & beige
Leeks, scallions, garlic, onions, celery, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, nuts, ginger, cocoa, coconut, coffee, tahini, seeds, chickpeas.
Blue, indigo & violet
Blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, figs, purple grapes, red wine, plums, prunes, aubergine.
So with all of your future meals- aim to have at least 2-3 different coloured fruit or veg to ensure you get a variety of vitamin, minerals and phytonutrients!
Experiment and enjoy nature’s goodness! Speak soon 🙂