Eat the Rainbow - research shows your life depends on it November 29 2013, 0 Comments
And why is it so important to "Eat the Rainbow"?
Even if you wouldn't dream of eating artificially coloured sweets, could you get away with just eating broccoli or cabbage with every meal instead of all the coloured veg and fruit? Well, eating broccoli and cabbage every day is certainly better for you than not eating any vegetables at all. The chlorophyll (green pigment) in broccoli and other green veg is one of nature's most potent detoxifiers and broccoli and cabbage belong to the Brassica family (along with kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) and contain powerful detoxifying sulphur compounds which help recycle and regulate hormones such as oestrogen among other things. So you definitely want to get plenty of broccoli and cabbage in your diet every week.
However, recent research in the Journal of Nutrition has indicated that each different plant food has a different 'positive health message' to tell our genes and we want ALL of that positive information in order to keep switching on the positive genetic expressions that promote good health and keep all the negative disease-promoting genes switched off. So for optimum health it really is key to eat a wide range of different coloured plant foods - mostly vegetables, herbs and spices with 1-2 pieces of fruit - to maintain that steady dialogue of health promotion and disease prevention.
Researchers Thompson HJ et al. concluded in 'Dietary Botanical Diversity Affects the Reduction of Oxidative Biomarkers in Women due to High Vegetable and Fruit Intake' that:
"Botanical diversity plays a role in determining the bioactivity of high-VF (ed: vegetable and fruit) diets and that smaller amounts of many phytochemicals may have greater beneficial effects than larger amounts of fewer phytochemicals."
What will each colour do for you?
Red phytonutrients eg. Lycopene, Astaxanthin and Capsanthin in tomatoes and redcurrants - support a healthy heart and circulation, urinary tract health and optimal memory function.
Yellow/Orange phytonutrients eg. Beta-carotene and Bioflavonoids in carrots, pumpkin and citrus - support eye health and strong immunity.
White phytonutrients eg. Allicin and Favonol in onions and garlic - support a health heart and cholesterol levels.
Green phytonutrients eg. Chlorophyll, Zeaxanthin, Folate and Lutein in kale and spinach - support strong bones and teeth, healthy eyesight and detoxification.
Blue/Purple phytonutrients eg. Anthocyanin, Quercetin and other Phenols in blueberries and red cabbage - support healthy ageing, urinary tract health, immunity and optimal memory function.
Variety really is the spice of life so to live a long and happy one, be sure to make your meals colourful.
If you're not sure how to get more colour into your diet, book a nutritional therapy consultation with me and we can work it out together.