I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the idea of imagining people feasting on a rainbow. For some reason it reminds me of that room in Willy Wonka’s factory where you could lick the fruit wallpaper… How cool would it be rocking up to a summer pot luck picnic and producing an entire rainbow from your basket like a magician?! Anyway, in my head you would eat this magical rainbow, and then be infused with it’s powers. Just like eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruit really? If you break down the job that vitamins and minerals perform in the body, that is pretty magical!
Nutrition groups have adopted the initiative, and ordinarily this concept is marketed at kids, which is wonderful, but adults need it too! Each colour represents different phytonutrients that nourish our bodies, protect against disease and promote health. Phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds that are found in plants, giving them their colour, and helping to protect the plant from environmental factors like UV and insect attacks. The great thing is, when we eat the plants, we can glean their benefits too. I have written a very brief list below of various colours, the phytonutrients that go with them, the foods where they can be found, and some of their main roles in the body.
Red – lycopene – (berries, red pepper/capsicum, tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit) – contribute to heart heath and reducing inflammation and oxidation.
Orange/Yellow - carotenoids/betacarotene (pumpkin, sweet potato, mango, apricot, corn, carrot, orange, lemon, pineapple, squash) – boosts immunity.
Green – lutein & indoles (broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, avocado, cucumbers, zucchini, green apples, kiwi, green pepper/capsicum) – antioxidant, protect eyes.
White – sulfur & allicin – (onion, garlic, leek) – helps to fight disease and aids detoxification.
Purple/blue – …