Summer is the best time to introduce colours into your diet. Rainbow food is not only appealing to the eye but it is also packed with phytonutrients that are extremely beneficial for the body. Let’s see what each colour can do:
Green that is so abundant at the moment is rich in indoles, sulforaphanes and isocyanates. These phytonutrients are great allies to fight cancer and are found in leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables ( broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts), avocados, asparagus, artichokes, herbs, green tea and kiwis.
Vibrant reds contain lycopene - a powerful antioxidant which has been linked to a protection against prostate cancer and a decreased risk of stroke. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, red grapes, red peppers, red onions, beetroots, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, cherries, apples and watermelons.
Orange /yellow pigments in fruits and vegetables are called carotenoids. The most famous one is beta carotene ( a provitamin A) but there a few others such as lutein zeaxanthin etc. Their benefits are associated with eye health and some research shows a decrease in the progression of age- related macular degeneration. You can find them in pumpkins, winter squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, corn, bananas, mangos, clementines, peaches and melons.
Purple and blues are full of anthocyanins another powerful antioxidants that are associated with cardiovascular health, improvement in cognitive function and antibacterial capabilities for UTI infections. They are found in eggplants, purple cabbages, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, grapes, figs and plums.
White/beige/ brown are full of flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempferol. The later has been shown to have great anti cancer properties while quercetin is associated with reduction in neurodegenerative and allergic disorders. You can find them in onions, garlic, leeks, cauliflower, parsnips and mushrooms.
If you feel overwhelmed by the choice and don’t know where to start simply focus on one colour each week and add it to your existent recipes. For example if you choose green colour this week, buy as many different leafy greens you can find in the store and sneak them into your dishes. Don’t forget that herbs are also packed with phytonutrients and can easily grow on the windowsill in your kitchen. Why not to try and add red fruits as your afternoon snack? If the budget is an issue, explore a frozen section where you can find blueberries at much lower price and you can sprinkle them onto your porridge or add them to a yoghurt. And in case you have ever forgotten to add one extra colour - freshly squeezed garlic can be added to almost any savoury dish. Bon appétit!
Library for more exploration:
Article written by Orinta Giuliano
I am a Nutritional Therapist and I was trained at College of Naturopathic Medicine in London.
I specialise in thyroid problems, PCOS and fertility issues related to both conditions. I am a busy mum of two who has been challenged by both diagnoses. My approach is based on latest scientific research and personal experience.