Dr Libby Weaver an Australian nutritional biochemist suggests that eating colourful rainbow foods could be the key to a healthy and balanced diet.
According to Dr Weaver plant based foods of differing colours (red, pink blue, purple, yellow, orange, green and white,) have different nutrients and antioxidants depending on their colour. A diet should incorporate a variety of colourful food.
Dr Weaver said, “Fruit and vegetables are packed full of micronutrients, as well as superstar substances known as phytochemicals. Some of these phytochemicals are what give plant foods their colour, so assorted colours equal different nutrients and antioxidants.”
Foods that are red and pink such as tomatoes, watermelon, guava, capsicum and grapefruit are great sources of an antioxidant called lycopene that has cancer preventing or heart disease properties.
Red fruits and legumes are good for reducing the risk of heart-related illness and blood pressure. Other red fruits such as strawberries are great sources of vitamin C and cherries are high in fibre and potassium that maintains low blood pressure.
Yellow and orange coloured foods contain carotenoids (plant pigments) that are great for the health of your eyes.
There are many forms of carotenoids the most common are beta-carotene found in apricots, carrots and sweet potatoes; lutein is found in sweetcorn, pumpkin yellow squash; and zeaxanthin is found in corn and orange capsicums.
Green leafy foods contain numerous nutrients that have an array of health benefits. Green vegetables are bursting with magnesium, contains beta-carotene and folate.
Vegetables from the Brassica family such as kale, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts contain a substance called glucoraphanin that is converted to sulforaphane – a potent antioxidant with anti-cancer properties.
Foods that are purple or blue such as blueberries, plums, blackcurrants, aubergine, red cabbage and black grapes are good for heart health, blood pressure and obesity.
These foods contain a substance called anthocyanin that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
People who eat purple and blue foods have a lower risk of having high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol as well as unlikely to be overweight.
Although the colour white and brown does not form part of the rainbow spectrum, they do have health benefits.
Foods that fall into this group are potatoes, bananas and mushrooms which are great sources of potassium for nerve and muscle function.
Cauliflower contains powerful antioxidants that fight against many ailments such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders and some forms of cancer.