Hungry? Opt for whole, natural snacks that are rich in colour and you’ll more than likely be choosing foods that are rich in nutrients too.
Beige diets are so common these days; think of bread, biscuits, cakes, pies. pizza, pasta and all manner of convenient eating. Food without colour is not only dreary to the eye, but also to the body and mind; encouraging lethargy, poor health, reducing productivity and promoting general weakness in all areas. The only upside is a quick boost of energy straight after eating when the body is rushed with sugars that wear off all too soon.
Colourful Foods Are The Answer To Health
Eating a diet rich in colourful foods also translates to you eating loads of fruits and vegetables, as these are the foods that are born with variations in vibrancy. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples and pinks… where else are you going to get your fix of natural flavour and colour? If you’re thinking that you simply need a few bags of Skittles a day, then you’re obviously missing the point.
Without knowing what vitamins and minerals are found in each food type, if every plate of food you eat has a rainbow-coloured arrangement of choice, you can more or less trust that you’re getting all the essential ingredients you need for optimal health. According to Dr Karin Hosenfeld, a dietician in Dallas, Texas, “We know that the most vibrantly coloured fruits and vegetables have the most nutrition. Eating an array of colours just ensures that you get the benefits of all of them.”
Here are some of the reasons why you need to eat colourful foods for added health benefits:
The Health Benefits In Red, Blue And Purple Foods
Red, blue and purple foods all have one thing in common: a pigment called anthocyanin, that is also a very powerful anti-oxidant. Anthocyanins are also renowned for maintaining memory function and a healthy heart, so they’re pretty important to the average human! They have also been shown to help prevent stroke and cancer.
- Strawberries, red kidney beans and beetroot are all great sources of folic acid – great for newly pregnant mums
- Strawberries again, as well as cranberries, raspberries, red peppers and pink grapefruit are a superb go-to source for vitamin C
- While cherries, eggplant and prunes help you stay fuller for longer and are great sources of fibre
- Cherries also help lower blood pressure, as do figs and tomatoes, as they’re high in potassium. They also contain lycopene, which is a great healthy healthy choice of food
- Watermelon is also a great source for lycopene, for kids who don’t eat tomatoes, figs or cherries (like mine)
The Health Benefits In Green Foods
The phrase “always eat your greens” is 100% spot on, especially for vegetarians and vegans who need to pay extra special attention to their protein and iron intakes.
- Dark green leafy veggies are a fantastic source of iron, think spinach, kale, parsley and dark green lettuces
- Leafy vegetables are also a great source of vitamin A and calcium; again, essential for vegans who won’t be getting any calcium from dairy
- Broccoli and brussels sprouts are also really high in vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin, hair and vision
- For vitamin C and enhanced immune system benefits, kiwi, broccoli, green peppers and cabbage are exceptional providers
The Health Benefits In Yellow And Orange Foods
Orange and yellow foods are prime providers of another batch of essential nutrients, which pretty much completes the rainbow of colours that you should on your plate:
- Beta-carotene is found in carrots, pumpkin, butternut and other orange foods and is responsible for the vibrant colour of these foods. It’s a superhero anti-oxidant that is responsible for promoting eye health and protecting the skin from sun damage
- Vitamin C is most commonly known to be found in oranges, but it can also be eaten via orange or yellow peppers, orange melon (spanspek in South Africa), peaches, mangoes and papaya
- Butternut, sweet potato and pumpkin are all foods that will help lower your blood pressure due to the high levels of potassium
Foods Rich In Colour Also Prevent Excessive Snacking
By eating a vast arrangement of fresh foods, nuts, seeds and grains, you’re also less likely to want to snack. The full spectrum of colour fills you up with everything you need from a meal, leaving no room for deficiencies that will make you crave and want to eat more.
Preparing a plate of colourful food also might seem more time-consuming than whipping up a macaroni and cheese, but the health rewards should more than make up for the time. If you’re not sure that you can stomach the added vegetables, try and add them to foods that you already love. Where kids are concerned, we make smoothies or pasta sauces that are packed full of colourful goodness. Once they’re blended together, the kids don’t know what’s in there and simply appreciate the taste. Sneaky!
Remember, Raw Is Best
When opting to add more colour to your meals, remember that eating your fruits and veggies raw is the best choice for optimal nutrition. Cooking, boiling, frying and baking will reduce the power of nutrients, although this is still better than eating no colour at all!