When it comes to fruits and vegetables, a more colourful plate benefits your health and your child’s. Let’s take a look at what to eat in every colour, for maximum health benefits.
It is said that the steps towards a better health begin with colours – the colours of the foods on your plate, that is. In other words, eat colours. This means that you have to eat a spectrum of different foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Everyone should aim to fill their plate throughout the week with foods representing each colour of the rainbow. This is to ensure that you are consuming enough vitamins, fibre and minerals. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, “When those foods are mostly from plants, you will have a plate full of colour.” Therefore, the more colourful your diet, the better it is. So, drop that beige bun with fake pink icing on top, and munch on some natural colours instead. Here are some healthy reasons to eat a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables.
- Red Group
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by natural plant pigments called “lycopene” or “anthocyanins”. Lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon, for example, may help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Anthocyanins in strawberries and raspberries act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Red foods are also a great source of protein, which is essential for weight loss because it builds muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Other examples of the red group include red apples, beets, cherries, cranberries, red grapes and red peppers.
- Orange Group
Eat more sunny orange foods to brighten up your health with powerful antioxidants that combat free radicals and fight diseases. The pigments that give orange foods their colouring are a class of phytochemicals that give your health a hue of longevity. Eating lots of apricots, oranges, mango and pumpkins, for instance, will help detoxify the body. Orange foods are naturally a great source of carotenoids. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease, and improves the body’s immune system. Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes and carrots is also converted to Vitamin A, to help maintain healthy eyes.
- Yellow Group
Yellow fruits and vegetables are teeming with carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which represent a class of water-soluble plant pigments that function as antioxidant. Studies suggest that these bountiful nutrients will help your heart, vision, digestion and immune system. Other benefits of naturally yellow foods include maintenance of healthy skin, wound healing, and stronger bones and teeth. Yellow fruits and vegetables include lemons, pineapple, starfruit, yellow peppers, corn and bananas.
- Green Group
Coloured by natural plant pigment called “chlorophyll”, green foods, such as spinach, green peppers, peas, cucumber and celery, contain lutein. One of the most important benefits that lutein provides is its contribution to a healthy eyesight, by fighting cataracts and related disorders due to aging. Lutein is also an important contributing factor for a healthy heart and blood circulation. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of folate, a B-Vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.
- Blue/Purple Group
Natural plant pigments – known as “anthocyanins” – in blue/purple fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, raisins and grapes, act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. They may help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart diseases. Studies have shown that eating more blueberries is linked with improved memory function and healthy aging. Other examples of the blue/purple group include plums, eggplants, cranberries, blackberries and purple asparagus.
- White Group
Yes, you should avoid a diet that is filled with white foods, but the rule is mostly referring to processed foods like white bread and potato chips – not fruits, vegetables or beans. Hence, a monochromatic dinner of white fish, roasted cauliflower and white beans is preferable to one of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and baguette. White fruits and vegetables contain health-promoting chemicals, such as allicin, which may help reduce the risk of stomach cancer and heart diseases, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Aside from cauliflower, white beans, fish and turnips are high in Vitamin C, and bananas and potatoes are good sources of potassium as well.
Tips to Increase Fruits and Vegetables in Your Family’s Diet
- Keep ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator
- Have vegetable with low-fat dip for a snack
- Add vegetables to casseroles, stews and soups
- Choose a side salad made with a variety of leafy greens
- Bake with raisins, dates or prune purée to reduce fat and increase fibre
- Drink 100% fruit juice, instead of fruit-flavoured drinks
What are your top tips in encouraging your family to increase their intake of fruits and veggies? Leave us a comment down below.