So we all know that eating more fruit and vegetables is good for us. Fruits and veggies contain important fibre, vitamins and minerals that our body needs. But there are so many varieties to choose from – which ones should we eat?
The truth about superfoods
There’s a lot of buzz about kale and blueberries being superfoods. So they must have all the nutritional value we just focus our attention on these, right? Wrong. The truth is, superfoods is a marketing term that doesn’t really mean anything. Each type of fruit and vegetable has their own particular composition of phytochemicals, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that make them uniquely healthy. Getting a variety in our diet will ensure that we don’t fall short on any particular nutrient.
Eat the rainbow
Nature has given us a colour-coded system to help us keep on track. Get a variety of each pigments in your diet and your body will thank you!
Red. Rich in antioxidants such as lycopene, anthocyanin and ellagic acid, and usually high in Vitamin A, C, and manganese. Great for reducing risk of cancer and protecting against heart disease and stimulating the immune system. Think: tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, bell peppers.
Orange. Generally high in carotenoids and bioflavonoids which are health-boosting antioxidants, and vitamin A + C. Perfect for supporting healthy skin, good vision, and a robust immune system. Think: papaya, pumpkin, sweet potato, mango, oranges, squash, peaches.
Yellow. Rich in carotenoids including beta-cryptoxanthin, bioflavonoids, potassium, magnesium. Helps to prevent cancer and reduce risk of inflammatory disorders. Think: lemon, yellow pepper, pineapple, yellow zucchini.
Green. Great source of chlorophyll, folate, iron, calcium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Helps protect blood vessel damage and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Think: Kale, spinach, zucchini, grapes, green apples, pears, kiwi, avocado.
Blue & Purple. High in anthocyanin, and often ellagic acid and proanthocyanidins. Sometimes a source of nitrates. Plays a role in reducing cellular damage, heart disease prevention, and supporting cognitive function.Think: blueberries, pomegranate, eggplant, beets, plums, cherries, purple cabbage.
White. Often high in Vitamin K, folate, anthoxanthins. Can help protect against cardiovascular disease, and maintain bone health. Think: cauliflower, radishes, lychees, banana, cucumber, fennel, parsnip.
How do I get more variety?
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with food. So much thought and preparation is required to plan, buy, wash, prep, chop, and cook, that we tend to just stick with what we know so we don’t have to re-write the book every time we prepare a meal!
- Make it your goal to eat at least three different colours of fruits and vegetables every day
- Eat vegetables with every meal
- Make fruit and vegetables a part of each snack.
- Get your friends and family onboard – everything’s easier as a team!
- Stock your freezer with good quality fruits and veg, and unprocessed meals –
so you always have something on hand!
- Monitor how much better you feel when you eat this way (clothes fitting better, more energy, brighter skin, etc). Making note of the positive results will increase motivation and help you keep on track!
Have a smooth day!