Eating the Rainbow: why is it important?
by Jill Jackson, CNP, NNCP
Eating a wide variety of colours is the best way to ensure that you are receiving the most vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants possible from your food, ensuring optimal health. I suggest having 2-3 different coloured fruits and vegetables with each meal. Different colours hold different important nutrients. The following are the
colours of the different rainbow in association with their health benefits.
RED FOODS Red foods contain the antioxidant lycopene, a strong protectant against cancers. It also helps to prevent diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. Some examples of red foods are pomegranates, cherries, red bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, red apples, and red chili peppers.
ORANGE FOODS Orange foods containplenty of vitamin C and beta-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene converts to vitamin A. This is especially important for our eye health, and immune function. Examples of orange foods are carrots, tangerines and oranges, mangoes, pumpkin, and squash.
YELLOW FOODS Yellow foods are also very high in vitamin C. Vitamin C assists our immune function as mentioned above but it also plays an important role in detoxification, improving circulation, speeding up wound healing and protecting against cancers. Brighten up your bowl with yellow foods such as pineapple, yellow bell peppers, lemons, and spaghetti squash.
GREEN FOODS Green foods are rich in thenatural chemicals sulforaphane, isocyanate and indoles which inhibit the action of carcinogens. Green foods are also often high in fiber and folate which will improve digestion. Vitamin K which is essential for bone and blood health is also highly present in green foods. The options for green foods
are almost endless, but here are a few suggestions: kale, avocado, cucumbers, edamame, broccoli, grapes, kiwi, spinach, and zucchini.
PURPLE AND BLUE FOODS Blue and purple foods contain antioxidants called anthocyanins important for delaying age related disease and helping to improve memory. Anthocyanins also prevent damage to cells, preventing cancers. Blue and purple foods include blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage, prunes, eggplant, purple potatoes, grapes, and plums.
BROWN FOODS Brown foods play a big role in preventing heart disease. They contain vitamin B, folate and are often high in fiber. Brown foods do not mean large pieces of meat. When discussing brown foods, we are referring to plant-based foods such as legumes, chickpeas, and lentils.
Consuming the rainbow is an easy step towards vitality and disease and cancer prevention! Take your health into your hands when deciding what foods will go on your plate!
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