‘Eat The Rainbow” This is the one piece of advice that I roll out to 95% of my clients. It is easy to get stuck in a fruit and veg rut and reach for the same options time and time again, in a pursuit to ensure that you are getting your 5-a-day. However the truth is that diversity is just as important as quantity.
Eating a variety of veg across the full spectrum of colour, not only livens up the look of your meals but it also provides you with a greater array of antioxidant phytonutrients, which can decrease risk of disease, decrease inflammation, improve gut health and help reduce toxic load.
So let’s look into this in a little more in depth and understand how eating the rainbow can move us towards optimal health.
Red foods are absolutely packed with antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins. These powerhouses can boost your immune system, fight heart disease, decrease stroke risk and enhance brain health to mention but a few.
Orange foods tend to be high in vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to form and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissues as well as mucus membranes and skin. So pretty much everything your body comprises of. In addition to being wildly utilised in this manner, it is key to a healthy immune system and your eyesight.
This colour represents anti-inflammatory compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Yellow fruit such as mangoes and banana are great for your skin. Butternut squash is rich in manganese which is key to strong bones and allows the body to optimally metabolise fats and carbohydrates. To name drop a few other vitamins that you will benefit from by reaching for yellow are, Vitamin, C, B6, A, folate, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus.
Green are one of the game changers in the rainbow, meaning that they can do an awful lot of good if eaten regularly. These liver supporting foods are also vital for brain, heart and gut health. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can also decrease risk of heart disease, high blood pressure as well as mental decline. Your green veg can also be a key player in reducing free radicals from damaging cells. This process is key in the prevention of cancer
I know not technically in the rainbow but an important addition none the less. Purple foods tend to be high in an antioxidant called anthocyanin. This compound is anti-inflammatory and good for you brain. These dark pigmented fruits and vegetables can also help to decrease blood pressure and immune dysfunction.
Hopefully this will illustrate the importance of diversity. It can sometimes be overwhelming but I often suggest that patients try and consume all of the above over the course of a week to ensure that they are getting the full spectrum of benefits in their diet.
A great resource is the Rainbow Chart by Dr Rangan Chatterjee. This chart gamifies the process of eating the full spectrum of the rainbow and can help get the entire family get involved.
Just remember when choosing your weekly groceries, colour is important! And if you need some support in finding the right balance for you, please get in contact.
Emma Kenton James
07378 994 993