The palette

Nature’s color Palette!

Foods get their colour from the phytochemicals present in them. These phytochemicals are vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for the body, that are good for preventing and reducing the risk of various diseases. Let us look at each color and the nutrition power it possesses.

Red: 

tomatoes

Sources: Red Apples, Red Grapes, Raspberries, Cranberries, Cherries, Strawberries, Watermelons, Beets, Red Onions, Red radishes.

Benefits: Anthocyanins and Lycopene, the pigments responsible for the red color in red and purple fruits and vegetables  serve as powerful antioxidants in the body. They help to maintain a healthy heart and memory function. Studies have also shown that anthocyanins decrease the risk of macular degeneration, certain types of cancer, and stroke. Red fruits and vegetables like cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, red or pink grapefruit, blueberries, and red bell peppers are among the highest in vitamin C. Strawberries, beets, and kidney beans are good sources of folic acid. The beans are also packed with fiber, protein, and iron. Red capsicums are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is necessary for eye and skin health. Berries like cranberries, contain a compound called tannin that prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, protecting against urinary tract infections. A diet rich in the carotenoid lycopene may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 35 percent. For women, it may also lower your chances of developing lung, breast, and stomach cancers. Research has shown that cooking tomatoes boosts their heart-healthy qualities by increasing lycopene content!


Yellow:

pepper

Sources: Pumpkin, yellow squash, yellow bell peppers, pineapple, grapefruit, and yellow sweet corn, bananas.

Benefits: Yellow vegetables and fruits are good sources of the phytochemicals Bromelain, Limonoids, Luetin and Zeaxanthin. Bromelain may ease indigestion and asthma. Limonoids may lower cholesterol and protect against breast, skin, and stomach cancers. Lutein and Zeaxanthin keep eyes strong, protecting the retina and reducing the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.


Orange:

orange

Sources: Mango, Apricots, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato.

Benefits:  Alpha and beta carotene make foods like carrots and sweet potatoes so brilliantly orange. The body converts these compounds into the active form of vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy. These phytochemicals also operate as antioxidants, sweeping up disease-promoting free radicals. Orange foods contain Curcumin, Beta-Cryptoxanthin, Alpha-Carotene, Hesperidin and Naringenin. The antioxidant properties of curcumin may help counter the body’s negative responses to high-fat foods.


Green:

pea

Sources: Avocados, Green grapes, Kiwifruit, Broccoli, Green peppers, Spinach, Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Green beans, Zucchini, Green peas, Snow peas.

Benefits: Leafy greens, aside from being high in vitamin A, are also a good source of calcium. If you don’t eat dairy, be sure to load up on deeply colored greens to get enough of the essential mineral.

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and brussels sprouts, are also high in vitamin A. Other green foods, like kiwis, green bell peppers, broccoli, and cabbage, are great sources of vitamin C. In fact, most green foods have some mix of vitamins and nutrients.


Purple/Blue:

eggplant

Sources: Eggplant (especially the skin), blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums, pomegranates.

Benefits: Dark colored foods with a purple pigment, such as purple onions,  grapes, purple cabbage,  figs, prunes and blackberries are known for having very high levels of antioxidants and thus possess amazing healing powers! The purple pigments in foods contain flavonoids, including resveratrol, which can help decrease blood pressure, and allow better circulation. It also boosts immunity from certain cancers. Produce with purple hues contain a variety of polyphenols that can reduce the inflammatory response in the body.

 

 


White:

cauliflower

Sources: Garlic, Onions , Cauliflower, ginger ,white corn, shallots, white potatoes, mushrooms, kohlrabi, white peaches.

Benefits:

While many white foods are refined, like white bread and white rice, there are a lot of white foods that are packed with nutrients. White fruits and veggies have been linked to lower cholesterol, decreased blood pressure, and a lower risk of heart disease. The key benefit of white foods is increased immunity. Eating white foods helps enhance the immune system, the lymph systems, and aids in cellular recovery. Here are a few of our go-to white foods and their specific benefits:

  • Garlic – In the same family as chives and onions, this powerful, potent food has been linked to heart health and decreased cancer risk. Garlic also has anti-microbial compounds.
  • Onions – In addition to having powerful sulfur-bearing compounds that work as anti-microbial agents (similar to garlic), onions have also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels and improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Onions are also high in the flavonoid quercetin, which has been linked to cell protection and slower tumor growth.
  • Cauliflower – High in powerful antioxidants such as manganese and vitamin C. One cup of cauliflower has 52 mg of vitamin C, compared to 64 mg in a medium orange. This healthy food has also been linked to increased immunity.

But how to eat more color…

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Take a look at your food plate at each meal today. Does your plate look mostly monotone? The healthiest meals should include a rainbow of colors on the plate. To achieve this try to include at least three/four different colored fruits or vegetables to your meal plate daily, and sneak in even more servings of bright and colored foods as in-between meal snacks throughout the day!

 

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