Your guide to wholefood colours & what they mean for your health

We grew up in a time where “eating the rainbow” was common knowledge…

Only for most of us, the rainbow was little sugary treats known as skittles…

These days this expression has exploded in popularity… & thankfully, the skittles have been swapped out with the real deal… wholefoods.

So is it actually THAT important to get an array of colours on your plate instead of opting for just a green salad every day?

The short answer – You betcha!

You see – these beautiful colours aren’t just for show!

Not only does eating a wide variety of colours help you get the vitamins & minerals that are absolutely crucial for good health – Each colour also contain different & extremely powerful antioxidants or phytonutrients (plant based nutrients) which assist your body with different things – & when eaten as a whole – help you achieve optimal health overall.

The colours (along with their different phytonutrients) are generally broken up into 5 different categories.

  • Green
  • Yellow & Orange
  • Red
  • Purple/Blue & Black
  • White & Brown

And here’s what each one brings to the table 😉

GREEN

Green always means an abundance of important nutrients to look forward to – one of the main one’s being chlorophyll – Chlorophyll is the pigment in plants responsible for photosynthesis – which plants needs to survive.

The other really cool thing about chlorophyll is that it is almost identical to haemoglobin – the oxygen carrying molecule that’s found in our red blood cells.

Because they’re so similar, chlorophyll actually provides the same benefits that haemoglobin does when we eat it- including cleansing & building of blood cells which ultimately improves oxygen levels in the body.

Main nutrients:
Chlorophyl, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Indoles, Saponins, Isothiocyanates, Vitamin A + K, Magnesium

Great for:
Your eyes
Your skin
Your immune system
Detoxifying your liver
Purifying your blood
Your bones
Your heart

Foods to include:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Basil
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Coriander
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Green Apples
  • Green beans
  • Green capsicum
  • Green chilli
  • Green olives
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Lettuce
  • Lime
  • Mint
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Pineapple Sage
  • Rocket
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Silverbeet
  • Snow peas
  • Sorrel
  • Spring Onion
  • Spinach
  • Wheat Grass
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

YELLOW & ORANGE 

Among other incredible nutrients, yellow/orange means you’re in the presence of Beta Carotene.

Beta Carotene is a type of carotenoid – & a seriously powerful one at that! With some of it’s effect including anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-inflammation & strong skin protection – Beta Carotene should definitely find its way onto your plate everyday!

Main Nutrients:
Beta Carotene, Flavanoids including Quercetin, Rutin & Hesperidin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C

Great for:
Your Immune System
Allergies
Your Blood Pressure
Cold Sores & other skin issues
Inflammation of the liver
Your Hormones

Foods to include:

  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Mango
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Turmeric
  • Yellow/Orange Capsicum
  • Yellow Tomato
  • Yellow Zucchini

RED

If you love a good sweet bite of tomato or a juicy piece of watermelon (& let’s be honest, who in their right mind doesn’t??) chances are you’re already getting a good dose of the antioxidant Lycopene.

Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that appears in red foods.

It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from disease, cancer & diabetes. It helps to keep your gums healthy, fights infections & stops arteriosclerosis – a condition that can occur during old age where your arteries literally turn stiff!

Main Nutrients:
Lycopene, Tocopherols, Vitamin E, Phytoene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C,

Great for:
Your brain
Your gums
Your eyes
Blood Pressure
Your prostate
Candida

Foods to include:

  • Beetroot
  • Cherries
  • Pomegranate
  • Radish
  • Red Apple
  • Red Capsicum
  • Red Grapes
  • Rhubard
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon

PURPLE/BLUE & BLACK

The two big players when it comes to purple/blue & black foods are Anthocyanins & Resveratrol – two flavanoids that bring a whole host of health benefits with them.

Both are powerful antioxidants that boost brain function, promote a healthy heart & offer protection from inflammation, & cancer.

Main Nutrients:
Anthocyanins, Resveratrol, Gallic Acid, Manganese

Great for:
Your Eyes
Your Skin
Your Heart
Your Circulation
Your Digestion
Your Memory

Foods to include:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Black Capsicum
  • Black Olives
  • Eggplant
  • Figs
  • Purple kale
  • Purple carrots
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Purple grapes
  • Purple onion
  • Radicchio

WHITE & BROWN

When you eat white veg, you’re also getting a good dose of Allicin – the compound that garlic uses to defend itself against pests.

Allicin has strong antimicrobial effect & protects from bacteria & infections. It’s also been shown to fight cancer & lower blood pressure.

Pro Tip = Crush/grate/cut up your garlic & allow it to sit on the bench for 5 mins before cooking with it to get the most benefit from the Allicin!

Main Nutrients:
Allicin, Potassium, B vitamins

Great for:

Your Immune System
Bacterial & fungal issues
Your gallbladder
Your pancreas
Your gums & teeth
Your Heart
Your Brain

Foods to include:

  • Artichoke Jerusalem
  • Brown Onion
  • Cauliflower
  • Coconut
  • Daikon 
  • Dates
  • Mushroom
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Parsnip

So there you have it – eating the rainbow is an absolute MUST if you want to make sure your body is getting all those important vitamins, minerals & other nutrients that it needs to keep you healthy!

Try to make sure you get every colour on your plate EVERY DAY! 🙂 xx 

 

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Chef, Author, TV Presenter

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Founder of The Holistic Ingredient, CTC Master Therapist

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Founder of Vegiehead, Author, Chef

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