If you’ve been told to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, it’s not just to make your plate look pretty. Each colour represents different nutrients that our body needs.
“Eating a number of colourful whole plant foods including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and whole grains – eat the rainbow we like to say – throughout the course of the week offers our body a diverse range of both micro and macro nutrients to support human health,” says nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill. “Plant foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, and phytonutrients which have a positive influence on our gut health, immune function, energy and the brain, just to start. The fibre we consume by eating plant foods supports the function of the gut. While most people know of insoluble fibre’s role in getting the bowels moving, fibre overall has a much greater role than that. Enjoying an abundance of colourful plant foods also delivers a variety of fibres to the gut – soluble and insoluble.”
Here’s how to get the most from every colour of the rainbow into our daily intake:
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by carotenoids, antioxidants that control free radicals in our body that cause damage and can reduce the risk of many diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
3 ways to eat more red:
- Add some tomato to your avo on toast for breakfast
- Chop up red apples into salads and slaws
- Snack on slices of red capsicum with a little hummus dip.
Orange fruits and vegetables also contain carotenoids, such as alpha and beta-carotene which is essential for healthy eyes. When these carotenoids are converted into vitamin A in the body, they may reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
3 ways to eat more orange:
- Try some roasted pumpkin slices added to a cheese toastie
- Pop some fresh orange or mandarin slices into green salads to add a little zest
- Add turmeric to roast veg or a little to your chai.
Phytonutrients are beneficial compounds found in fruit and veg. The ones in yellow produce are important for eye health and can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
3 ways to eat more yellow:
- Fresh, canned or frozen sweetcorn kernels make a great protein-boosting addition to stir-fries, chilli and salads.
- Grilled pineapple can be added to almost anything! Try it in muesli, on pizzas or added to a haloumi burger
- Bananas are packed with goodness and are totally tote-able for work or school lunchboxes.
By promoting blood circulation, green fruits and vegetables can help keep your blood vessels healthy, reduce the risk of heart and other diseases, and lower blood pressure.
3 ways to eat more green:
- Choose baby spinach instead of lettuce to add extra nutrients to your salads and sandwiches, or throw some into an omelette
- Try broccolini under the grill with a spritz of olive oil as side-dish to lean fish or chicken
- Avocados are cheaper when bought unripened, wait for them to ripen up and add into dips and chop into salads.
BLUE AND PURPLE
produce contain anthocyanins, resveratrol, tannins, and other phytonutrients which provide benefits in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. They may also help improve memory.
3 ways to eat more blue & purple:
- Purple grapes are great in salads – including fruit salad with a little Greek yoghurt
- Buy blueberries and blackberries in season to save, and throw some into Bircher muesli or fresh into salads
- Prunes and figs are a delicious snack with a little slice of low-fat cheese.
BROWN AND WHITE
Brown and white fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, cauliflower and mushrooms, are rich in nutrients like fibre, vitamins, and minerals that can help support overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
3 ways to eat more brown & white:
- Garlic is delicious roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and paired with roast veg
- Slice and spice potatoes and make your own healthier wedges and chips
- Try cauliflower mash instead of potato mash
By eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, you’ll be getting all the essential nutrients that your body needs to function at its best. However, if you’re a busy person who finds it challenging to prepare every meal with a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, then you may benefit from a natural supplement such as Eimele’s Essential Rainbow Daily Superfood Powder.
Containing a blend of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables such as kale, spinach, blueberries and acai, not only is it a convenient way to supplement your diet with the nutrients you may be missing, but it’s also easy to incorporate into your routine.
Keep in mind that supplements can complement your diet and provide the extra nutrients you may need, but your focus should be on a balanced diet, which includes eating a wide range of colourful fruit and vegetables every day. Aiming for a rainbow should remain the cornerstone of your healthy eating habit to maximise health benefits.
At Healthy Food Guide, we only collaborate with trusted brands. To bring you this article we have partnered with Eimele, for more information about their products visit eimele.com