If you’re confused by the amount of conflicting advice on what to eat for a healthy body, you’re not alone. Healthy eating has become big business and companies make a fortune out of our wish to be healthy often pushing us to purchase supplements as a quick fix. Eating healthily is a lot easier than you might think because it’s all to do with colour.
Scientists the world over agree that our cousins in the Mediterranean follow one of the healthiest diets. Take a close look at what they’re actually eating and you’ll see a rainbow of colours. Not for them the bland appearance of a jacket potato with grated cheese!
Healthy food this way!
Nature does everything it can to point us in the right direction and help us make healthy choices. The varied colours of fruits and vegetables are caused by differing phytonutrients. These are natural chemicals that help protect plants. What’s great for us is that each colour also indicates what nutrients are abundant within those fruits and vegetables. By eating a rainbow of colours, we naturally and effortlessly increase the variety of vitamins and minerals in our diets. We also benefit from their protective properties. We might not live in Italy or France but we do have access to a world of fruits and vegetables year round.
Eat a rainbow
So next time you’re pushing the trolley around the supermarket and wondering what to do for tea – think ‘Eat a Rainbow’. By incorporating a selection of colours into your food each day, you’ll be giving your body everything it needs. Why not grow a few of your own vegetables? Better for your pocket and the environment. Even a few herbs growing on a window sill will add colour to your diet.
Handy tip: If you have fussy children, chop or pulp vegetables and hide them in sauces. They’ll be getting all the goodness and you’ll get none of the fuss!
Know your colours
Red fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, including lycopene and ellagic acid. These powerful nutrients are known for their cancer-fighting effects and other health benefits.
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Some carotenoids, most notably beta-carotene, convert to vitamin A within the body. This helps promote healthy vision and cell growth.
Greens are one of healthiest foods we can eat. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K,. These are essential for blood and bone health.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients, including anthocyanins and resveratrol. They have been studied extensively for their anti-cancer and anti-aging properties.
White and brown produce may not be as brightly coloured as other foods, but they still are a healthy choice and have phytonutrients. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable rich in an anti-cancer compound called sulforaphane. Garlic and onions are in the allium family of vegetables and contain the powerful cancer-fighting compounds allicin and quercetin.
Who knew healthy eating could be so easy? Grab your trolley and bring a little Mediterranean sunshine into your life.