Eating the rainbow!

food health Apr 24, 2016

Eating the colours of the rainbow makes me feel alive. It's not just that a colourful plate of vegetables pleases my eyes and makes my mouth water (an important prerequisite to creating valuable enzymes when producing saliva, to help digest food further down). By eating the colours of the rainbow I nourish my body with essential macro, micro and phytonutrients.

 

Phytonutrients were only discovered fairly recently, and more and more are being discovered as I write. Scientists now agree that while phytonutrients alone don't keep us alive, they help us to thrive and may play a significant role in protecting us from disease and making our bodies function optimally.

 

Phytonutrients help us to stay healthy, young and vibrant well into our later stages of life.

If you haven't heard of phytonutrients, you will have heard of antioxidants. Most people now understand that they are important for healthy cells and reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But what you may not know is, that antioxidants are also important brain food that can protect us from depression, mental decline and inflammation. The deeper the colour in a piece of vegetable or fruit the more antioxidants it contains. And the different colours relate to different types of antioxidants.

So here are some examples, not conclusive but a good start:

 

Greens:

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, chard, dandelion, herbs, wild greens, peas, avocado

 

Phytonutrients: among others: sulphoraphan, iron, lutein, vitamin K

 

Red:

Tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, red bell pepper, radishes, cherries, apples

 

Phytonutrients: among others: Lycopene, anthocyanin, ellagic acid

 

Orange/yellow:

Oranges, lemons, papayas, peaches, pineapple, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, mango, yellow bell pepper, lemons

 

Phytonutrients: among others, alpha- and beta-carotene, potassium

 

 

Blue/Purple:

Grapes, blackberries, black currents, aubergine, blueberries, red cabbage, red grapes, red onions, plums, potassium,

 

Phytonutrients: among others, folates, anthocyanins

 

White/Yellow 

Garlic, onions, parsnip, celeriac, cauliflower

 

Phytonutrients: among others, vitamin c, allium, sulforaphane, flavanoids

 

Nature is very clever though, because the best way to get all these health-promoting anti-oxidants is by eating the whole food.

 

According to Michael Greger, MD in his book 'How Not to Die',

'... apparently supplement pills do not have the same cancer fighting effects as produce. When it comes to certain other cancers like those of the digestive tract, antioxidant supplements may even make things worse. Combinations of antioxidants like vitamin a, vitamin E, and beta-carotene in pill form where associated with increased risk of death in those who took them. Supplements contain only a select few antioxidants, whereas your body relies on hundreds of them, all working synergistically to create a network to help the body dispose of free radicals. High doses of a single antioxidant may upset this delicate balance and they actually diminish your body's ability to fight cancer.'

 

So there you are! Eat fresh, whole organic food with different colours and soon it will become fun to create plates that burst with colour, flavour and life-protecting antioxidants.

 

Love the look of the recipe below? Download my recipe card for Jewelled Broccoli Salad or order my book 'Food Heroes' with this and 76 other delicious raw food recipes.

 

And don't forget to leave a comment on the right. Have a great day!

 

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