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Know Your Food Rainbow – 8 Colours For A Healthy Plate

Holi is one of the most unique festivals in the world! This Festival of colours is held once every year during the beginning of spring in India. It is one fun-filled, insane festival as you can see people running around, playing and chasing other people with colours in their hand. No one, of any age or gender is spared. Holi is celebrated throughout India and with it just around the corner; we thought we will bring to you some colourful healthy information!

Were you aware that different coloured fruits and vegetables have different kinds of nutrients and benefits? Dietitians and nutritionists often advice their patients, food based on their colour.  It is said that the darker the hue of the colour, the better the benefits. A chemical named “phytochemicals”, naturally present in all the plants is the reason for the colour.

  1. RED

The luscious red fruits and vegetables get their hue from a natural plant pigment called lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. They contain other phytochemicals also like-Anthocyanins, Flavonoids (flavonols) , Saponins. The red fruits and veggies contain Vitamin C.

Vitamin C helps in 

  • Maintaining healthy blood vessels
  • Cell protection from damage
  • Absorption of iron from food
  • Increases the immune system

The phytochemicals help in –

  • Reduces the risk of Prostate cancer
  • Protection against Heart diseases
  • Protection from neurological diseases and vision problems

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The purple / blue colours of the foods come from a plant pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is great for heart health and preventing obesity. Some scientific research even shows it may assist in cancer prevention. Blue/purple foods have a number of other nutrients also such as – flavonoids, lutein, fiber, resveratrol, zeaxanthin,  ellagic acid, Vitamin C, and quercetin.

These nutrients can help you in different ways like-

  • Helps fight inflammations
  • Helps the body in absorbing calcium and other nutrients
  • Helps in lowering bad cholesterol
  • Is beneficial for eye health, especially retina
  • Reduces growth of tumours
  • Reduces risk of stroke and heart diseases

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The orange produce contains lycopene, flavonoids,  zeaxanthin,  potassium, vitamin C and  beta-cryptoxanthin. They are a good source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which are great antioxidants.

These nutrients help in various ways such as-

  • Promotes healthy joints
  • Helps in maintaining good vision
  • Increases the immune function
  • Maintains PH balance in the body
  • Builds healthier bones

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  1. GREEN

We all have heard from our parents that green fruits and vegetables are good for health. However, do we know what makes them so healthy? Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives the green colour to these foods.

These foods are high in –

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Follate
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Photochemicals- Isothiocyanates, Fructans, Carotenoids (beta-carotene and lutein).

They help in-

  • Growth and Development of children
  • Detoxification
  • Iron Metabolism
  • Increased blood formation in body
  • Removing carcinogenic compounds from our bloodstreams
  • Reduces heart diseases, risk of cancer

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  1. WHITE

White produce get their colour from a compound named anthoxanthins. Even though white foods may look boring, they are packed with a lot of nutrients and benefits. They have phytochemicals that are good for the health. Allicin, a phytochemical found in garlic is known for its antibacterial and antivirus properties. Members from the white group like Chia, sesame seeds, Beans, Coconut and bananas are good sources of potassium.

 Potassium helps in-

  • Supporting healthy growth and development in children
  • Checking nervous system function
  • Maintaining normal water and electrolyte balance
  • Improving and checking muscle function

These foods help in –

  • Protecting against cancer
  • Keeps bones strong
  • Reduces inflamation

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  1. BROWN

Brown foods are not as appealing as their counterparts; however they are just as nutritious. They contain Vitamin C, carbohydrates, aolate and are excellent antioxidants. Garlic and onions have powerful cancer fighting compounds named allicin and quercetin. Dark Chocolates have anti-oxidant properties. Nuts, mushrooms, brown rice are rich in protein and low in cholesterol.

These nutrients support –

  • Healthy growth during pregnancy
  • Improvement in the immune system
  • Reduction in tiredness and fatigue

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  1. Yellow

Like Orange produce, yellow fruits and vegetables also have compounds such as Vitamin A, lycopene, flavonoids,  zeaxanthin,  potassium, vitamin C and  beta-cryptoxanthin.

Vitamin A helps in –

  • Maintaining a good Immune system
  • Improving the skin health
  • Supports good vision

Lutein helps in –

  • Age related eye disease
  • Muscular degeneration due to old age
  • Cataracts in eye

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  1. TAN

Tan cannot be considered as the most exciting colour in the food spectrum, however tan foods are some of the most important staples in our diet. Foods that are high in fiber, such as – whole wheat breads, cereals, soyabean, oat meal, oat flour and pastas are usually tan in colour.

They help in – 

  • Maintaining a healthy digestive tract
  • Reduces the risk of some types of cancer.
  • Beta glucan are a part of these foods, which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Quinoa and semolina pasta , Oats energy cereal , Ragi energy cereal , Oats flour , Ragi and oats cookies , Khatta meetha oats , Steel cut oats , Lemon tossed soyabean, Soya sticks

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and safe Holi!

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