It’s suggested that you eat a ‘rainbow’ diet, but what does that mean? A rainbow implies a number of colours, but how does that influence your health? There’s a reason that carrots are orange and spinach is green, — an array of colours translates to varying nutrients.
It’s said that when you eat a colourful diet, you provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. The anthocyanins in blueberries, for instance, yield their rich blue colour, while protecting your neural health. The beta carotene in carrots yields an orange colouration, while boosting immune function and vision health.
A Colourful Diet Equates to Positive Health
You probably do not give your dinner plate much thought in terms of the colours it provides. It’s obvious that the presentation of food can be welcoming, pleasing your eyes before your taste buds. Although a colourful plate can be tempting in terms of your appetite, those colours also offer significant health benefits.
Differing coloured foods influence different functions in the human body. Most often, protein and carbs are white, beige, or brown — vegetables and fruit are what offer colour to your plate. This is why you should try and consume at least three colours at every meal. What are some of the beneficial colours in terms of sources and effects?
- Red bell peppers — Red peppers offer the highest concentration of vitamin C in terms of bell peppers. They contain a range of phytochemicals and antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and support optimal functioning.
- Tomatoes — Offering your body plenty of vitamin C, biotin, vitamin K, fibre, manganese, and more, tomatoes are known to reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
- Strawberries — Strawberries are nutrient-rich, easing inflammation due to their effects on C-reactive protein. From weight loss to enhanced blood flow, strawberries offer a range of benefits. A mixture of berries is the perfect addition on your morning Greek yogurt.
Other sources include: beets, cherries, pomegranates, red apples, beets, and radishes.
- Sweet potato — Rich in beta-carotene, sweet potatoes increase concentrations of vitamin A in the body, not to mention copper, vitamin B6, potassium, and so much more. They’re inexpensive and versatile, yielding more than 400 percent of your daily vitamin A needs.
- Carrots — Once again, carrots are packed with beta-carotene, as well as vitamin B8, folate, and iron. Carrots are known to protect vision health, as one study found that those who consumed the most beta-carotene, had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration.
Other sources include: pumpkin, apricots, oranges, papaya, mangoes, and peaches.
- Spinach — All dark leafy greens are nutrient powerhouses, offering incredible amounts of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. Spinach is one of the best sources of vitamin K, also known as the ‘blood clotting’ vitamin, while helping your body build stronger bones and reduce heart disease.
- Broccoli — This cruciferous vegetable is known to block a damaging enzyme, known to damage cartilage. In turn, you reduce your risk of arthritis. It’s also known for its powerful anti-cancer properties, reducing tumour growth.
Other sources include: kiwi, green grapes, avocado, lime, and Brussels sprouts.
Blue and Purple Foods
- Purple cabbage — Cabbage is full of dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. This delicious vegetable is known to suppress inflammation, which often leads to cardiovascular disease. High polyphenol concentrations may also reduce blood pressure and heart disease, based on its ability to prevent platelet buildup.
- Blueberries — Low in calories but high in nutrients, blueberries yield high antioxidant levels, reducing cellular damage. In turn, you protect yourself against disease such as cancer. Its anti-inflammatory effects also impact brain health, reducing cognitive decline.
Other sources include: purple potatoes, eggplant, blackberries, plums, and figs.
The next time you’re shopping, look down at your basket — if you don’t see the colours of the rainbow or our logo, it’s best that you add one or two more items to your list. Get into the routine of consuming a colourful diet on a daily basis, significantly reducing your risk of disease and boosting your happiness levels.