The rich colors of fruits and vegetables are due to a combination of the phytochemicals and nutrients that are present in them. The pigment or color of each type of fruit and vegetable plays an important role in identifying different types of nutrients that it supplies to the body. For instance, citrus fruits are rich in phytonutrients that impart the yellow color. These nutrients have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in keeping life threatening infections and illnesses at bay.1
How Does Eating Multi-Colored Veggies Help You?
1. Red Produce For Lycopene
Red colored fruits like apples and plums contain a powerful constituent, carotenoids. Carotenoids are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in nature and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the arteries and hence promote cardiovascular health. They also help in the reduction of insulin resistance and prevent the onset of diabetes. The antioxidant nature of these fruits help in fighting infections and inhibits the growth of tumors in the body.
Watermelon and tomatoes contain lycopene, a nutrient that can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases and cancer. They also have phytoestrogens which inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Include a variety of red fruits and vegetables like apples, tomatoes, and pomegranates in your daily diet to keep the doctor away!2
2. Yellow Produce For Vitamins
The concentration of the beta carotene pigment present in some fruits and vegetables imparts colors ranging from bright yellow to pale orange. These nutrients can be converted to Vitamin A in the body which is needed for good eyesight, immunity, cell growth and skin health. Such flavonoids are also known for their antioxidant properties. They play a major role in strengthening the immune system and prevent the onset of many diseases like cancer, cataract, arthritis, alzheimer’s disease, inflammation in the body and also fight infection.
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that prevents inflammation and wards off infection. Natural sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and vegetables like carrots. Carrots are also rich in nutrients and vitamins like folate, vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin B2, and E.3
3. Leafy Greens For Minerals
Think again if you have a habit of keeping green and leafy vegetables aside in your plate. These are the vegetables and greens that are rich in many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that contribute to your health. The rich fiber content in leafy greens and vegetables helps in preventing constipation and also improves the digestive system.
Nutrients like vitamins A, C, E and K and minerals like phosphorous, manganese, copper, iron and folate that are present in all greens, spinach and kale are useful in keeping you away from cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity. They are also rich in Calcium which is required for your bone health.4
4. Purple Produce For Antioxidants
The royal looking purple colored fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients. Anthocyanins are compounds that are present in these fruits and veggies which give the characteristic purple tinge. They are anti-inflammatory in nature and are powerful antioxidants. They can help resist attacks from potential foreign pathogens. These fruits and veggies are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin that can keep our eyes healthy.
Fruits like berries and grapes and veggies like eggplant are also found to be high in Vitamin C which is beneficial for the absorption of iron, heart health and in preventing cold and other infections. Beets, when consumed raw in juice form, can help lower blood pressure and can improve the overall strength of the body.5
A plate of veggies and fruits vibrant in different hues looks pleasing to the eye and at the same time assures you of good health. Load up your plates with as many colors as you can!
|↑1||Okwu, Donatus Ebere. “Citrus Fruits: A Rich Source of Phytochemicals and their Roles in Human Health A Review.” International Journal of Chemical Sciences 6, no. 2 (2008).|
|↑2||Zeb, Alam, and Sultan Mehmood. “Ca rote no id s Contents from Various Sources and Their Potential Health Applications.” Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 3, no. 3 (2004): 199-204.|
|↑3||Pham-Huy, Lien Ai, Hua He, and Chuong Pham-Huy. “Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health.” International journal of biomedical science: IJBS 4, no. 2 (2008): 89.|
|↑4||Gupta, Kaushalya, G. K. Barat, D. S. Wagle, and H. K. L. Chawla. “Nutrient contents and antinutritional factors in conventional and non-conventional leafy vegetables.” Food Chemistry 31, no. 2 (1989): 105-116.|
|↑5||Bagchi, D., C. K. Sen, M. Bagchi, and M. Atalay. “Anti-angiogenic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties of a novel anthocyanin-rich berry extract formula.” Biochemistry (Moscow) 69, no. 1 (2004): 75-80.|