Reach for a Rainbow in What You Eat for Optimum Health Benefits
You may find it hard to imagine but leading nutritionists recommend that we eat at least thirty – yes 30 – different types of fruits and vegetables in a week, selecting a rainbow of different colors for all types of phytochemicals as a feast for our gut health.
And each color contains a range of those phytocemicals.
Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants that provide health benefits, appearing not only in fruits and vegetables but also in grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.
Purple and blue
Think of berries, aubergines (egg plant), plums, figs, grapes – plus purple versions of various vegetables such as kale, potatoes, onions, broccoli and lettuce.
The color purple will help prevent serious disease, oxidative stress and inflammation while protecting cells from damage.
The phytochemicals present are anthocyanins and resveratrol.
The ones to go for are broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, Swiss chard, green beans, peas, courgettes, asparagus, green apples and green grapes.
The color green will help improve blood and bone health, enhance the immune system and help to prevent serious disease.
The phytochemicals present are glucosinolates, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Orange and yellow
Orange and yellow include carrots, squash, golden beet, sweetcorn, yellow peppers, sweet potatoes, citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes), pineapples, melons and peaches.
Orange and yellow produce will promote healthy vision, cell growth in the skin, increase blood circulation and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The phytochemicals present are carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin and hesperidin.
The color red will help to prevent serious disease especially in the prostate while reducing the risk of heath disease and stroke.
The phytochemicals present are lycopene, anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
How about setting you and your family a challenge – seeing how many different fruits and vegetables you can include in your diet in the coming week? Can you reach thirty?
We are supposed to have at least five a day – times seven – and there you have well over thirty!