Nutrition: Why you should eat the rainbow

BY Fiona Hicks

1st Jan 2015 Wellbeing

Nutrition: Why you should eat the rainbow

From bread to chips to crisps, have you ever noticed that the majority of processed foods are beige or brown? Many whole and natural foods, on the other hand, are brightly coloured—and eating them can help you to feel vibrant. Here’s why...

Red helps your heart

Studies show that lycopene, a red-coloured phytonutrient found in tomatoes, can help reduce the risk of heart attack due to its potent antioxidant activity. What’s more, fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown lower LDL cholesterol—the “bad” kind that can lead to clogged-up arteries. Virgin Mary, anyone?


Orange maintains your immune system

Carrots’ bright colour comes from beta-carotenes—compounds that are converted to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A, in turn, plays a pivotal role in the healthy functioning of your immune system, helping you to fight everything from cancer to the common cold. 


Yellow supports your eyes

The humble corn-on-the-cob contains a compound called lutein, which is also found in your eye’s retina. A report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggested that eating lots of yellow-coloured foods can support the function of your eyes, thus reducing your risk of conditions such as age-related macular degeneration. 


Blue protects your brain 

Pterostilbene is a phytonutrient that’s found in the skins of blueberries and grapes. Recent animal studies have shown that supplementation with pterostilbene can improve cognition, reduce anxiety and enhance mood. Try adding a cup of blueberries to your morning muesli, or throw together a fruit salad with grapes.


Green assists your liver 

Cabbage, kale and broccoli are all full of glucosinolates—compounds that support your liver’s ability to eliminate toxins. Aim to eat two large handfuls of these vegetables daily. There’s no need for soggy veg, though, as steaming them is the best way to preserve their health-boosting properties.   


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