We often hear the phrase “Eat the rainbow” being bandied around, yes it makes our plates look beautiful and oh so instagramable but what are the actual health benefits to eating an array of colourful foods ?
Simply put each colour in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals that help protect plants from environmental threats and these colours indicate an abundance of specific nutrients.
Red fruits and vegetables contain the phytochemicals lycopene and ellagic acid. These powerful nutrients are known for their cancer-fighting effects as well as reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease while improving skin quality.
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids including beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body known to promote healthy vision and cellular growth. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables also play a role in immune function alongside reducing the risk of heart disease.
Greens are one of healthiest foods we can eat being rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K — an essential nutrient for blood and bone health. Green fruits and vegetables support the immune system, assist in detoxification and boosting our energy and vitality.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients, anthocyanins and resveratrol known for anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties. Studies show that the bio-active phytochemicals in berries work to repair damage from oxidative stress and inflammation. Blue and purple fruits and Vegetables are anti-inflammatory and help keep us youthful.
White and brown produce may not be as vibrant in colour as other foods, however they still contain phytonutrients including anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane, allicin and quercetin. White and brown fruits and vegetables are thought to protect against certain cancers, aid bone strength and are heart healthy.
By Emma Rice
Staying positive, healthy, focussed and self-aware, both internally and externally.