You must have seen a rainbow sometime somewhere. The colourful array is quite difficult to miss when it’s out. You’ve probably had little to imagine doing with or to the rainbow. The least you’d ever think of must be to ‘eat the rainbow’. Now, to the topic. It sounds ridiculous! No doubt. Well, let’s ‘de-ridiculousize’ it. What do you have when you assemble differently coloured fruits and vegetables? A rainbow!
Fruits and vegetables are good for you, so they say. Well, a rainbow is better. Isn’t variety a spice of life? With an assorted combination of 5-7 fruits as fruit and vegetable salad or eaten whole, you avail yourself of numerous health benefits. Eating a diversity of colorful foods can be an easy way to get a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. There’s probably no better way! Colour in fruits and vegetables is brought about by specific phytonutrients, which are natural chemicals that help protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun’s harmful rays, and other threats. Each colour actually indicates an abundance of specific nutrients. Let’s take them colour by colour.
Red fruits and vegetables are your tomato, your red apple, watermelon. They contain phytochemicals, including lycopene and ellagic acid. These powerful nutrients have been studied for their cancer-fighting effects and other health benefits. No doubt, watermelon appears to be the more appropriate option for a rainbow available to us in Nigeria. Well, watermelon even has more lycopene than most, and this has been seen to be effective against prostate cancer. Watermelon is also rich in a phytonutrient called citrulline, which may work as a treatment for mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. It should be known that these phytonutrients may actually be available in supplement form however these have been found to paradoxically increase cancer risk. Whole food such as fruits are your best bet.
Orange/Yellow fruits and vegetables are your carrots, lemons, pineapples, mangoes, oranges and sweet potato. They are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Some carotenoids, most notably beta-carotene, convert to vitamin A within the body, which helps promote healthy vision and cell growth. Citrus fruits contain a unique phytonutrient called hesperidin, which helps to increase blood flow.
Green fruits and vegetables are your spinach, cucumber, limes, green beans, cabbage and celery. They are rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K — which is essential for blood and bone health. More essentially, they are abundant in folic acid-a nutrient important in pregnant mothers to prevent malformations in the foetus.
Brown/white fruits and vegetables are your garlic, bananas, potatoes, onions, ginger. Garlic and onions are in the allium family of vegetables and contain the powerful cancer-fighting compounds allicin and quercetin. They’re not as colourful as the others but they do have their phytonutrients!
Blue fruits and vegetables such as blackberries, blueberries may not be common here. They contain anthocyanins and resveratrol and have been studied extensively for their anti-cancer and anti-aging properties.
Eat a rainbow today!