Are you eating the right colours for you?

Are you eating the right colours for you?

Author -  Vicki Philbey

All fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant chemicals). These nutrients have a range of health benefits. Each colour group also has its own unique actions. 

Purple/blue

Grapes, plums, blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, pomegranates, prunes, purple cabbage, black capsicums, figs, purple kumera, Maori potato. These foods are high in antioxidants such as anthocyanidins, which:

  • have an anti - aging effect by reducing free radical damage.
  • help to reduce inflammation within the body, so are useful for joint conditions.
  • protect against eye damage in people with diabetes.
  • protect blood vessels.
  • Blueberries are good for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure. 

Green

Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, spinach, kale, cavalo nero, kiwifruit, green grapes, courgettes, peas, beans, asparagus, avocado, celery, lettuce, leeks. Green foods are good sources of:

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: carotenoids that are concentrated in the lens of the eye. They help to protect against age related macular degeneration and cataracts. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and silverbeet are rich in these nutrients.
  • Quercetin: an anti-inflammatory bioflavanoid , that may reduce hayfever symptoms, and is important for the gut wall health. Apples and onions are very good sources of Quercetin. 
  • Sulfur: a mineral with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a natural form of pain relief, and is found in high levels in Brassicas (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc). 
  • Folate: a B vitamin that is particularly important in pregnancy. Leafy greens like spinach and broccoli are excellent Folate sources. 
  • Potassium: a mineral that is useful for maintaining blood pressure and normal water balance in the body All vegetables are good sources of Potassium, but green vegetables are particularly high in this nutrient.

Yellow/orange

Capsicums, all citrus, carrots, pumpkin, golden kumera, apricots, golden kiwifruit, mangoes, peaches, pineapples, squash, butternut pumpkin, persimmons, sweet corn. Yellow and orange foods are high in:

  • Carotenoids: a group of antioxidants that help to protect against free radical damage. They do this by reducing the cell oxidation, which may cause some chronic health issues. 
  • Beta carotene:, a pigment that gives food its orange and yellow colour. The body converts beta carotene to Vitamin A, which is important for healthy skin and hair. It is also important for eye health, and helps to protect against age related macular degeneration and cataracts. Good sources of beta carotene include carrots, squash and pumpkin.
  • Vitamin C: an essential water-soluble vitamin that is important for immunity, collagen production and repair. It also has an anti-histaimine effect, and may help to reduce hayfever symptoms. Citrus fruit are particularly high in Vitamin C.
  • Pregnancy health: The Corpus Luteum (Latin for yellow body), is essential for establishing and maintaining pregnancy as it releases progesterone which helps develop the uterine lining to nourish a developing embryo.The Corpus Luteum has the highest concentration of beta carotenes than any other organ of the body which it obtains from the diet.

Red

Tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, beetroot, cranberries raspberries, rhubarb, blood oranges, guavas, red onions, radishes, red capsicums, red chilli peppers. These foods are rich in:

  • Lycopene: a type of beta carotene that is very strongly antioxidant, and is important for prostate health. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes it helpful for gum infections or “thrush” (candida). Lycopene may also help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, and is most easily absorbable from cooked tomatoes.
  • Anthocyanins: important antioxidants that help to maintain heart health due to their antioxidant effect that protect cells from damage, Cherries, blackcurrants and red grapes are particularly good sources of anthocyanins 
  • Vitamin C: this important immunity vitamin is also found in high levels in red vegetables like capsicums, tomatoes and chilli peppers.

Eating a rainbow of colours a day is an excellent way of getting a variety of health giving nutrients and bioflavanoids in your diet. Experiment with colours and taste. Try vegetables or fruit that you haven’t tasted before.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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