Everybody wants to eat healthy. But if that means spending a fortune or eating stuff you don't like it's fair enough to feel inclined to give it pass.
But eating a rainbow is about as simple as it gets, and it has the potential to properly impact on your wellbeing.
Fruit and vegetables come in many colours. These colours aren't just mother nature getting cute with the packaging - they are the way that certain nutrients present themselves to the naked eye. That means that by diversifying the colour of the fruit and veg you eat, you can pretty easily increase the diversity of different vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in your body. Win.
The concept is simple – try to eat as many different colours of fruit and veg. From tomatoes all the way to aubergines, the goal should be eating as many colours as possible every day. But try not to get stuck eating the same vegetables over and over again - you can challenge yourself to buy at least one new vegetable every time you do your shopping, or subscribe to a veggie box.
Health and wellbeing expert, and author of the 4 Pillar Plan, Dr Chatterjee, has been using this chart with his patients. You can print it out and fill it in, or you can find more creative ways to track your colourful consumption with a bullet journal or by colouring in a chart whenever you eat a vegetable or a fruit.
Just to show you how amazing a rainbow diet can be, we've gathered some great information about the health benefits of each colour, and our wonderful friend Deliciously Ella has kindly shared some recipes too.
Red foods are rich in lycopene. Their health benefits include anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and they can help against cardiovascular diseases, high blood sugar and cholesterol. They also benefit your heart, liver and digestion.
Lycopene works best when cooked, so try to add some cooked red veg to your meal.
Red pepper, beetroot, red onion and rhubarb are all examples of scrumptious red foods!
- Roast Veg and Chickpea Stew
- Roasted Beet and Potato Soup
- Roasted Mediterranean Veg with Tomato Pesto
Orange fruit and veg contain carotenoids, and are rich in vitamins A and C. These vitamins help prevent heart attacks and cancer, while carotenoids are especially well known in helping with eye-health and hormonal balance. Orange foods are also immune supportive and help your reproductive and skin health.
Some ideas for orange foods can be oranges, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and so on.
Yellow foods have very similar properties to their orange friends. They contain high levels of carotenoids and vitamins A and C, and are anti-inflammatory, cell protective and help maintain eye, heart, vascular and skin problems. Some studies even show that yellow foods' properties include a reduced risk for rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers.
Add some sunshine into your meal with yellow fruit and veg such as sweetcorn, lemons, summer squashes or yellow peppers.
- Fennel and Corn Quinoa Salad
- Raw Mango and Pineapple Tart
- Lemon Cardamom Pancakes with a Zesty Honey Drizzle
Everybody's telling you to eat your greens, and they're right! Green foodscontain chlorophyll, sulforaphane, lutein, zeaxanthin, glucosinolate, carotenoids, indoles, folates, saponins and vitamins K, B and E. Phew, a mouthful in more ways than one.
The bottom line is that green foods can protect you against blood-vessel damage, eye disease, age-related muscle degeneration and certain types of cancer. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and help with neurological, hormonal, heart, liver and skin health.
The British Heart Foundation is even researching how some of the good things found in green veggies can protect against the damage caused by heart attacks, stroke and gestational diabetes. In other words, green veggies are the superheroes of your diet!
You can eat avocado, peas, cucumber, spinach, okra and so many more to satisfy your urge for some greenness in your meals! Try to eat cruciferous veggies (such as kale, broccoli or brussels sprouts) in particular - after all, they are the original superfoods.
Blue and purple foods are rich in anthocyanins, which protect cells from damage, and have antioxidant properties that can reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. They are also rich in nitrates that were found to help reduce blood pressure, and vitamins C and K. Generally, blue and purple fruit and veg can help with cognitive, heart, skin and liver health, as well as being anti-inflammatory.
Some of the most beautiful fruit and veggies are in this category: aubergines, red cabbage, blueberries and purple potatoes are just some of them.
This may be the Brit's favourite category, and you'll be happy to know beige foods are rich in anthoxanthins (reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases and arthritis), allicin (antiviral and antibacterial properties) and potassium (helps with normal heart and muscle function). But most of all, the king of this category – the potato – is one of the biggest sources of vitamin C. Just make sure you eat the skins, and not too much – the whole point is to learn to enjoy the entire rainbow, and not just the beige-y stuff we all love. Overall, these veggies help with gastrointestinal, heart, hormonal and liver health, and have anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties.
Examples of beige foods are cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, garlic, parsnips and even lentils and chickpeas.
- Bang Bang Cauliflower with Sweet and Spicy Sauce
- Spicy Coconut and Lentil Dahl
- Cacao and Avocado Mousse
https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/5-a-day/colourful-foods ; https://lifehacker.com/what-it-means-to-eat-the-rainbow-1594799068;