We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Eat The Rainbow’, especially used to encourage young kids to fill their plates with fruits and veggies, but is this truly optimal for our health?
As we all know, incorporating a vast range of fruits and vegetables into our diet, provides us with all the important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are all essential in helping our body to function healthily.
WHAT ARE PHYTOCHEMICALS?
Phytochemicals are primarily found in fruits and vegetables, but are also found in beans and grains. It’s a chemical compound produced by plants, and has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. They are essential for our health, but are pretty easy to incorporate into your diet without much thought.
Red fruits and vegetables contain an antioxidant called Lycopene, which can help protect against particular cancers in the prostate, stomach, and lungs. This antioxidant gives the fruits their colour.
Red fruits and veg:
Tomatoes, red berries, pomegranate, watermelon, red apples, red grapes, cranberries, cherries, red pepper, radishes
Try our Sundried Tomato Sauce.
Orange fruits contain beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A by our body, to keep our hormones and eyes healthy. The beta-carotene has also been associated with reducing the risk of lung, esophagus and stomach cancers.
Orange fruits and veg:
Carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, mangoes, cantaloupes, nectarines
Try our Caveman Carrot Wraps.
Purple fruits and vegetables contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins. This is a powerful antioxidant which can protect cells from damage, and may lessen the painful symptoms of arthritis.
Purple fruits and veg:
Beetroot, aubergine, red cabbage, blackberries, blackcurrants, purple grapes
Try our Beetroot Seeded Crackers.
Green fruits and vegetables contain a range of nutrients and phytochemicals.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and pak choy are all sources of sulforaphane and glucosinolate. They also contain isothiocyanates and indoles, which are two phytochemicals which have been associated with anticancer properties.
Green vegetables are also packed with folic acid, vitamin K, carotenoids and omega-3.
Green fruits and veg:
Cruciferous vegetables, cucumber, courgettes, leeks, mange tout, asparagus, celery, avocados, green apples, green grapes
Try our Courgette Artisan Loaf.
White fruits and vegetables contain the phytochemical called anthoxanthins, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory conditions.
White fruits and veg:
Celeriac, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms, onions, turnips, bananas, white peaches, and potatoes
Try our Mushroom Pate.
Below is an excellent infographic by The Food Revolution Network, which you can refer to to help you eat the rainbow.