Eating by colour

  • Date: 13 March 2018
  • Category: News
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While ‘superfoods’ is the buzzword in healthy eating these days, you might be surprised to know that almost all plant foods are super nutritious and not only nourish us, but protect us from disease too.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, plant-based foods also contain thousands of different disease-preventing nutrients.  These are known as phyto-nutrients (Phyto from the Greek word for plant).  Phyto-nutrients give vegetables, fruits and legumes their colour and/or flavour and researchers have found they play an important role in protecting our health and preventing some of the leading chronic diseases in Australia, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

This is great news as many of these foods are readily available and cheap (when eaten in season)!  While fruit and vegetables contain the majority of phytonutrients we know about so far, legumes, nuts, and whole grains also contain important health promoting nutrients.  Check out the rainbow of colours below, and what they can do for your health.

 

 

Food sources

Health benefits

PURPLE, BLUE, BLACK

Eggplant

Beetroot

Purple cabbage

Red onion

Black beans

Blueberries

Blackberries

Passionfruit

Plums

Olives

- Protects against cancer, stroke and heart disease

- Heart and blood health, may lower blood pressure

- Improved memory

- Healthy aging

RED

Red capsicum and chillies

Tomatoes

Kidney beans

Strawberries, raspberries

Red apples

Watermelon

Cherries

- Protect against cataracts and macular degeneration

- Blood vessel health

- May protect against cancer and heart disease

- Healthy lungs

- Reduce prostate cancer

- Healthy skin

 

ORANGE

Carrots

Pumpkin

Sweet potato

Orange lentils

Oranges

Apricots

Mangoes

Peaches

- Strengthens immune system and vision

- Healthy skin

- Strong bones

- May protect against cancer and heart disease

YELLOW

Sweetcorn

Yellow capsicum

Yellow squash

Bananas

Lemons

Pineapple

- Protects vision

- Skin health

- May protect against cancer and heart disease

 

GREEN

Beans

Broccoli

Cabbage

Green herbs

Spinach

Green capsicum

Green apples

Avocado

Green grapes

Kiwifruit

- Eye health, prevents macular degeneration

- Strong bones

- Strengthens immune system

- Protects against cancer and heart disease

 

WHITE

Fennel, garlic, leeks, white onion,

White nectarine and peaches, lychees

White beans (cannellini, lima beans, navy beans, soybeans)

- Helps protect against cancer

- Healthy heart and blood

BROWN

Potato, swede

Bortolotti beans, lentils

Brown pear, raisin, fig, dates

- Helps protect against cancer

- Strengthens immune system

 

Tips to increase the amount of phytonutrients in your diet

  • Keep cleaned and cut fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator so they are easy to grab as a quick snack
  • Choose vegetables with low-fat dip for a snack.
  • Add vegetables and beans or legumes to casseroles, stews and soups.
  • Have fruit for dessert.
  • Keep a bowl of apples, bananas and/or oranges on the table for quick grabbing
  • Choose a side salad or vegetables in place of fries when eating out.
  • Add veg like lettuce, onions, capsicum and/or tomatoes to sandwiches.
  • Order veggie toppings on your pizza instead of extra meat or cheese
  • Enjoy fruit smoothies for breakfast or snacks.
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