Elizabeth Arnott

Eat a rainbow

Eat the colours of the rainbow for a healthy body
Nature's pharmacy on your plate.  The foods with the highest level of antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals are often the most colourful.

What are phytochemicals - and why do we need them?  Well, they are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties.   Although they are non-essential nutrients, meaning that they are not essential for sustaining life, they help protect the human body against diseases. 

There are more than a thousand known phytochemicals, and each works differently.  Most have an antioxidant activity to protect against  oxidation damage and reduce the risk of develop certain kinds of cancer.  Examples of antioxidant-rich phytochemicals are carotenoids found in fruit and carrots; flavonoids found in fruit and vegetables; and polyphenols in grapes.   
 
Phytochemicals are already part of our daily diet, except in refined foods, so to ensure that you are getting your necessary requirement to protect against diseases, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables - the more colours the better. 
 
Orange - carrots, sweet orange peppers, mangos, apricots - contains carotenoids which are converted into vitamin A, supporting the immune system, and essential for eye health 
 
Blue, purple, red - blueberries, blackberries, red grapes, beetroot, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates - the list goes on and on - contain flavenoids that promote brain health and in particular the memory function.  Blueberries are considered a powerhouse of nutrition, and one of the richest anti-oxidant foods supporting your immune system. 
 
Dark green - broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, kale - contains potassium, fibre, vitamins A, E, C, K folic acid, potassium, and lutein which is essential for eye health, especially in the prevention of macular degeneration. Also the phytochemical sulforaphane found in broccoli and cabbage is reported to detoxify cancer-causing chemicals before they damage the body. 
 
Yellow/green - avocado, kiwi, pistachios - are rich in lutein. Suprisingly the green casingaround the pistachio nut contains lutein.  Kiwifruit is a powerhouse of vitamin C.  
 
Bursting with colour and flavour, your rainbow foods contain essential vitamins and nutrients for health and energy.  The stronger the colour, the higher the concentration of health benefits. Try to add as many different coloured, natural (unprocessed) foods to your daily meals. Your body will thank you, and you will notice the difference.  

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