With summer around the corner and isolation (hopefully) slowly easing, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. What better time to start “eating the rainbow” than now, in spring? You’ve probably heard this phrase countless times growing up. It’s time to drop our unhealthy snacking habits and fill our plates (and bellies) with a rainbow of seasonal fresh produce.
What’s in a rainbow?
Those vibrant colours you see in fruits and vegetables come from antioxidant phytonutrients called carotenoids and flavonoids. Those phytonutrients in plants have powerful health effects – they assist your body’s natural detoxification systems and boost your immune system.
Fruits and veggies fall into different colour categories. Red, Yellow + Orange, Blue + Purple, Green and Brown/Tan + White.
Red - Foods that are red contain antioxidants such as anthocyanidins, lycopene and flavanol. Red foods reduce cancer risk, boost your immune system, enhance brain and heart health. Such as Red Capsicum, Red Apples, Tomatoes or Red Onions
Yellow and Orange – Foods that are tallow are anti-inflammatory and promote eye, skin, brain and heart health. Orange foods helps build your immune system and optimise eye and skin health. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, which gives it their vibrant colour. The foods in this group are also a good source of Folates, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Such as Lemons, Oranges, Bananas or Carrots.
Green – Green fruits and veggies support your liver, are packed with iron, folates and contains nutrients vital for brain and heart health and are anti-inflammatory. Such as Avocados, Cucumbers, Green Apples or Lettuce.
Blue and Purple – The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. It provides a range of vitamins and minerals which are anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants, good for the brain. Such as Blueberries, Eggplants, Purple Potato or Beetroot.
Brown, Tan and White – When it comes to phytonutrients, the darker the plant/food, the more nutrient dense, however, white and tan plant foods are an exception! They support a healthy liver, optimise hormone health. White fruits and vegetables contain a variety of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin which is found in garlic, which is also known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Bananas and potatoes are also a good source of potassium. Such as Onion, Ginger, Cauliflower or Pear.
Every person needs at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day. Eating these don’t need to be a chore. You just need to aim to eat as many different colours as you can so that your body will receive more variety and more minerals, vitamins and nutrients it needs. This can be as easy as having strawberries with your cereal at breakfast, or having a salad for lunch, then steaming some broccoli and roasting some potatoes to serve with your dinner.
When you’re writing your grocery list, make it a habit of adding 1-2 new plant foods each week. Throw some colourful fruits and vegetables into your smoothie or juice them making it easy to get in your servings. You will feel much better physically and emotionally.
We’ve made eating the rainbow easy for you! Shop our vast, fresh and colourful Aussie home grown produce we have on offer at Picnic Street today!