You might have heard that you should “Eat The Rainbow!” But why? What does it mean? Should we be eating little colourful candies? Not exactly. (Or at all.) The health community suggests eating a diet that is packed with colourful fruits and vegetables because the pigments of fruits and vegetables are created by their phytonutrients. How cool is that? Colours are trying to communicate their meaning far beyond the psychological realm.
What are phytonutrients?
Phenolic compounds are naturally found in plants, where they work to protect the plant against stresses. When we eat foods with these compounds including fruits, vegetables, grains, tea, and essential oils, they work to protect us. Research has shown that “polyphenols are possible strategies for modulating and reducing the disease risks associated with exposure to toxic pollutants in the environment.”
So, what do the different colours mean?
Red = Lycopene
Orange/Yellow = Carotenoids
Green = Chlorophyll
Blue/Purples = Anthocyanins
White = Anthoxanthins
As you can see, the benefits of eating a colourful diet are real! So real that we created an 8-Week VegeGreens challenge (where we go into more detail about the compound makeup of the colours of fruits and vegetables, and their health benefits). The challenge is designed to provide a sprint start to enjoying the energy that comes from eating colourfully while supplementing with Progressive’s VegeGreens. Find out more about the challenge:
What happens if I don’t eat colourfully?
The opposite of colourful isn’t the whites and beiges are found in ginger, onions, bananas, pears, and other lightly-coloured fruits and vegetables. Instead, we’re talking about the white breads, chicken fingers, pastries, pizzas, and other processed foods that process the nutrition out of their raw ingredients.
When we don’t eat the nutrients that come from fruits and vegetables (and even worse, if we don’t supplement), our bodies simply don’t get them. We don’t need to get into the serious health risks that can occur when our bodies aren’t receiving the nutrients, so let’s just go the proactive route and commit to filling our plates with a rainbow of fruits and veggies!
How can I incorporate more colour into my diet?
Did we mention that our VegeGreen Challenge comes packed with colourful recipes? We’re clearly obsessed. If you’re not up to the challenge at this point, then may we suggest some of our classic and colourful recipes? They’re easy to make and packed with colourful nutrition! Although, even the simplest and speediest recipe requires some time, which we can’t always find in our busy lives nowadays. While occasionally biting into a whole tomato or pretending cucumbers are meant to be eaten like bananas may be the best way to go, a delicious glass of water and VegeGreens is always on standby to get all your recommended daily intake of nutrients even on the busiest days!
1Hoffman, JB & Hennig, B. (2017). Protective influence of healthful nutrition on mechanisms of environmental pollutant toxicity and disease risks. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences. Jun;1398(1):99-107.