INFOGRAPHIC | Rainbow Nation: Why you should be eating all the colours

  • You need a rainbow-variety of fruits and vegetables for optimal health.
  • Foods get their colour and taste from phytonutrients – important compounds that fight disease.
  • Phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that help prevent cell damage.

Blue, red, green, purple, orange and white – life would be incredibly dull without the colours that make up the world.

When it comes to food, vibrant colours indicate a range of nutrients that ensure your insides stay as vibrant as your fashionable attire in summer. This, however, applies only to "healthy foods", which means that sweets don't feature.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you get all the nutrients you need to help fight disease and prevent health problems as you age.

READ | How to eat healthier if you absolutely hate vegetables 

What does colour have to do with anything?

Plant-based foods get their colour and taste from phytonutrients - bioactive compounds that have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and even anti-ageing effects on the human body. 

Positive effects include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, less cell damage as we age, and a smaller risk of a range of cancers.

Colourful plant foods also contain other nutrients, like vitamins and potassium, which help boost your immune system.

Here are the phytonutrients associated with each colour:

infographic of phytonutrients in food rainbow

(Infographic: Gabi Zietsman/Canva)

How much?

According to Harvard Health, you should consume a total of four-and-a-half cups of fruits and vegetables every day.

For leafy greens, one cup equals only half a cup because they take up so much space. 

To ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need, look at the colour palette of your meals and if one colour dominates too much, swap it out for another one. You can also do this for salads, fruit medleys, stir-fries and curries, and even the toppings on your pizza.

A colourful plate of food is visually appealing – and tastes delicious.

READ | Could vegetables be the fountain of youth?

Image credit: Pixabay

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