Eat a Rainbow

Did you know that the colour of your food affects its health benefits? Delia McCabe shares how the pigments that colour the fruit and vegetables we eat are carried by powerful antioxidants and why it’s important to eat a rainbow every day.

Purple fruits contain flavonoids, including resveratrol, which help to keep our blood vessels healthy, improve immunity, may keep blood pressure stable and have been linked to vision and cognitive benefits. Choose raisins, red grapes, blackberries and mulberries.

Red fruits contain lycopene and vitamin C, powerful antioxidants that protect our digestive tract, stomach and lungs from cancer, as well as optimize immune function and healthy bones, teeth and skin. Choose watermelon, pink grapefruit, dragonfruit and pomegranates.

Yellow and orange fruits (as well as green kiwi fruit) contain carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin as well as cryptoxanthin, which help to boost our immune system, feed our skin and act as potent antioxidants. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, an important brain antioxidant. Choose bananas, mangoes, oranges, paw paws, passionfruit and kiwi fruit.

Green foods contain powerful antioxidants, such as glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, that contain cancer–fighting compounds, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, potent eye nutrients. They also contain a vast array of other phytonutrients, many of which have as-yet undiscovered abilities to enhance our health and support our brain. Choose asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, Chinese greens, rocket (arugula), watercress as well as seaweed produced from fresh, live plants.

Blue foods contain anthocyanins, along with lutein and zeaxanthin, which defend cells against cancer-forming compounds and prevent neuronal brain degeneration. Although researchers are not yet entirely sure why they are as powerful as they are, these compounds seem to be uniquely suited to quenching free-radical activity in the brain, even influencing neurotransmitter synthesis. Choose blueberries and dark cherries — blueberries contain more age-defying and disease-fighting antioxidants than any other vegetables or fruits.

Extracted from Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook, by Delia McCabe, available from www.exislepublishing.com and wherever good books are sold. RRP $34.99. Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash.

Savour some delicious vegetarian recipes by Delia McCabe and get advice on how to eat a healthier diet in Issue 3, Audrey Daybook – New Beginnings.