Eating a well-balanced is something that nutritionists and health experts stress on. Health magazines tell you that you need to have five servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Even your neighbour has some health advice for you “Why don’t you switch to olive oil? It’s healthier.” But what no one seems to be talking about is one of the most crucial elements of having a well-balanced diet. The key is to eat a wide-variety of coloured food. Nature has actually made it easy for us to ensure that we are getting all the nutrients required to keep our body and health in great form. Each colour signifies the presence of particular nutrients in the food item. This way, you can ensure that you are in-taking all the required nutrients in sufficient quantities. So getting to know Nature’s colour chart is the easiest way towards a healthier lifestyle.
Lycopene, an antioxidant, is predominant in red-coloured fruits and vegetables. It is said to reduce the risk of some cancers and also helps protect against heart attacks. Fruits such as strawberries and pomegranates contain Ellagic acid, a phytonutrient that helps reduce DNA damage and also contains cancer fighting properties.
Little known fact: Strawberries help fight plaque build-up in the teeth. They also contain bleaching properties that help whiten the teeth.
Orange and Yellow
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin C. Apart from improving immunity; beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in our body and hence helps with good vision. Other phytochemicals found in orange and yellow foods help with blood sugar regulation, have anti-inflammatory properties, and help protect our eyes from cataracts.
Little known fact: Since vitamin A is essential for good vision, it is referred to as the “eyesight vitamin”.
Purple and Blue
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables owe their colour to the presence of Anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer and even help support healthy blood pressure. One thing to keep in mind is that – the darker the colour, the higher the phytochemical concentration.
Little known fact: Blueberries contain the highest level of antioxidants of all foods.
Green foods get their colour from Chlorophyll, which is also responsible for the green colour of plants and trees. Green vegetables contain vitamin K, potassium, carotenoids, folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids. Green foods effectively rid the body of accumulated toxins and other waste.
Little known fact: Leafy greens, such as spinach, contain a high dose of calcium and are an alternative source for those who do not prefer dairy products.
White food such as garlic, musuhrooms and cauliflower are great at boosting your immunity. They contain nutrients that fight against certain cancers, balance hormone levels and reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers.
Little known fact: Owing to its antiseptic, antifungal, and antivirus properties, garlic was used to treat the wounded soldiers during World War I.
Nature has made it very simple for us. All we have to do is to ensure that we include different coloured foods in our diet so that our body gets all the nutrients and vitamins that it needs to fight against disease causing agents and to help us lead an active life. The next time someone tells you that you need to have five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, why don’t you educate them on the importance of making sure that each serving is as colourful as a rainbow.