Why you should Eat the Rainbow

Why you should Eat the Rainbow

  • 1 June 2020
Chances are you’ve heard the expression "Eat The Rainbow". But what does it mean and what are the benefits, apart from a beautiful and colourful plate?

What does “Eat the rainbow” mean?


It simply means that you should eat a variety of colours of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Sometimes we can get into a rut, and eat the same fruits and vegetables that you and your family like over and over again every week. But eating diverse types and colours of fruits and vegetables is very important for a balanced nutritious diet.

Having a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet will help ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals and fibre that come with all fruits and vegetables. And the bright colours will not only add interest to your everyday dishes, but also some other very beneficial compounds to your diet.

What makes them colourful?




Each colour in fruits and vegetables is due to specific phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are naturally-occurring organic compounds in plants that not only give them their beautiful colours but can have protective qualities for our health. Many of these phytochemicals are antioxidants - natural compounds that are thought to protect against harmful free radicals.

Benefits of Eating the rainbow


Besides being beautiful to look at, each vibrant colour indicates that the food is high in specific phytonutrients, and therefore has different benefits for our health. Both kids and adults can benefit from eating a variety of different coloured foods in their diets.

In general, the more colours you eat when it comes to fruit and veg, the more phytonutrients you'll consume. Here are some of the phytonutrients and benefits of each colour of the rainbow:

Red


Red and pink foods like beetroot, red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and others contain lycopene and anthocyanins and can help boost your immune system. Lycopene has antioxidant functions and is thought to have anti-cancer properties and most of these red foods are high in vitamin C.

Orange


Carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut mangoes and other orange fruit and veg contain carotenoids like beta-carotene. These are converted to vitamin A in the body which is important for eye and skin health. These foods also help improve immune function.

Yellow


Yellow fruits and vegetables like yellow peppers, lemon, and pineapple also contain carotenoids. Lutein and zeaxanthan are carotenoids which give them their yellow colour. They are anti-inflammatory and appear to have important antioxidant functions in the body. Just like orange foods, they also support eye health.

Green


We all know the expression eat your greens, and there are so many great reasons to include more green vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, avocado, cucumber, baby marrows and leafy greens in your diet.

Green veggies are a source of vitamin K which is important for blood and bone health. They get their green colour from chlorophyll which is anti-inflammatory and supports your liver and promotes detoxification.

Blue & Purple


Anthocyanins give blueberries, blackberries, red onions, purple cabbage, and aubergines their purple hues. Anthocyanins are antioxidants associated with keeping the heart healthy and the brain functioning optimally. They are anti-inflammatory have been studied extensively for their anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties.

White and brown


These foods might not be as exciting to look at, but they’re not to be underestimated or skipped. Cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, and garlic are very healthy too!.

Garlic and onions are in the allium family of vegetables and contain powerful cancer-fighting compounds allicin and quercetin. Allicin has anti-fungal as well as anti-bacterial properties which means it can help fight infections. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. It has also been shown to help decrease blood pressure and may help prevent heart disease.

As you can see, there are many benefits to eating a colourful diet. You don’t need to remember what specific nutrients and phytochemicals each fruit or vegetable contains - you simply need to try and include as much variety and colour in your diet as possible!