Eat the rainbow

Plate of colourful salad

Eating a rainbow of colours doesn’t mean stuffing your face with M&Ms or Haribos… we’re talking veg and fruit here, of course. Not only is it proven to be beneficial to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, brighten up your diet with the different colours of the rainbow and you’ll most certainly brighten up your health this autumn. Aim to get the full spectrum of colours of the rainbow into your diet over a week

The standard British diet (especially kids’) can be pretty beige if we’re not careful: porridge, cereal, sausages, croissants or granola for breakfast, sandwich or soup and crisps at lunch and pasta or chicken for dinner. But add some colour by eating a diversity of fruit and veg and you are giving your body a dollop of protective qualities.

The colours in your fruit and veg, or rather the tiny compounds that create their colour, are the source of powerful phytonutrients or phytochemicals that studies show reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer in people who eat a diet high in plant-based foods. When consumed, these phytonutrients stimulate enzymes that help the body eliminate toxins, boost the immune system, promote healthy oestrogen metabolism, support cardiovascular health and kill off cancer cells.

A 2014 study at University College, London reported increasing health benefits for people who ate up to seven or more portions a day – with vegetables and salad proving more beneficial than fruit. Many of the beneficial compounds in plants are linked to their colour pigments, so by eating a wide variety of fruit and veg you’ll reap the most from your seven-a-day.

 

Red pepper

Red

Supplies lycopene, which protects the skin from sun damage and may help against certain cancers.

Pink gratefruit, watermelon, red peppers, chillies, tomatoes

 

Carrots

 

 

Orange

Packed with betacarotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A for healthy skin.

Squash, sweet potato, carrots, mango, papaya, nectarines, peaches, apricots

 

Sweetcorn

Yellow

Supplies the carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) that protect the eyes from macular degeneration and help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

Corn, yellow peppers, yellow courgettes

 

Spinach

 

Green

Rich in energising chlorophyl.

Spinach, watercress, rocket, broccoli, kale, asparagus, cucumbers, green grapes, avocados, kiwis

 

Red cabbage

Purple

Good source of protective anthocyanin, which are great anti-agers.

Aubergines, blueberries, red grapes, blackcurrants, plums, red cabbage