Posted on Nov 10, 2023, 2 p.m.
Advertising has developed designs to draw us to and make us desire products by using colorful adverts and slogans such as “Skittles with taste the rainbow:” Why should those in the health field not do the same and exploit this effectiveness for a greater good?
Health professionals also recommend eating a rainbow, but in this, they mean eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables that can help to keep the body and mind fit and healthy while helping to protect against certain cancers, heart disease, arthritis, cataracts, and even premature aging. In simple terms, eating the rainbow means eating fruits and vegetables of different colors every day.
The idea is that focusing on eating a variety of colors will help to increase different nutrient intake to benefit various areas of health. Almost all studies show benefits from consuming colorful fruits and vegetables with virtually no downsides. Additionally, eating a variety of colors in your diet, helps to provide your body with a range of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that benefit your health that you might otherwise miss out on.
Red fruits and vegetables are generally anti-inflammatory and rich sources of antioxidants that can help reduce sun-related skin damage and improve heart and blood health while helping to support joints by including foods such as but not limited to strawberries, watermelon, apples, red peppers, pink guava, grapefruit, and tomatoes in your diet.
Dark Red fruits and vegetables may help to support athletic performance through increased oxygen uptake, these rich sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidant compounds also help to lower the risk of high blood pressure, and certain cancers while supporting heart health by including foods like beets and prickly pears in your diet.
Orange fruits and vegetables are great sources of fiber and inflammation-fighting antioxidants that can help to support eye health, lower the risk of heart disease, and help to prevent cancer as well as promote collagen growth by including foods like oranges, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, ginger, and pumpkins in your diet.
Yellow fruits and vegetables are also typically anti-inflammatory and rich sources of anti-aging antioxidants that support eye health, support heart health, aid digestion, and the immune system by eating foods like bananas, pears, papaya, pineapple, lemon, and yellow peppers.
Green fruits and vegetables are powerful detoxifiers that fight free radicals due to their abundant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds which also help to improve heart health, lower the risk of cancer, and boost the immune system by including foods such as kiwi, apples, kale, spinach, cucumber, avocado, and broccoli in your diet.
Blue/Purple fruits and vegetables help to improve mineral absorption and are powerful anti-inflammatory anti-aging antioxidants that also help to improve brain health, support heart health, and lower the risk of developing certain cancers by including foods like grapes, blueberries, blackberries, cabbage, eggplant, and beets in your diet.
White/Brown fruits and vegetables can help activate natural killer immune cells and help reduce cancer risks while supporting heart health with their potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds by including foods such as coconut, garlic, leeks, white potatoes, onions, daikon radish, mushrooms, cauliflower, and parsnip in your diet.
This article will also be sharing a Raw Rainbow Pad Thai colorful salad that is versatile and easy to make which is delicious and healthy and can be served with many dishes as a side or alternative to coleslaw. You could even serve this as a meal on its own with some added cuts of lean meats, it’s one of those dishes that just keep improving the more it is made, and as other healthy ingredients are added to the mix. This salad keeps for a few days, especially without the dressing added until ready to eat, it also makes a great snack.
For the salad:
1 medium courgette (zucchini), julienned or spiralized
2 large carrots, julienned or spiralized
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
3/4 cup frozen soya beans, thawed (or try tofu)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the dressing:
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup raw almond butter (or try peanut butter)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons water
2.5 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or another sweetener)
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Prep vegetables. In a large bowl add the courgette, carrots, pepper, and cabbage, and toss with hands to combine. Dressing can be prepared by processing all dressing ingredients in a mini processor or simply whisking by hand. Top bowls with soya beans (or tofu), green onion, hemp seeds, and sesame seeds, then pour on dressing if desired and enjoy…. Eat the rainbow!
While you don’t have to eat every color every day, try to have 2-3 different colors a day to try and get all of them into your diet a few times a week.
You could make an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, garlic, onions, and a variety of colorful bell peppers for breakfast. If you prefer a smoothie, try using mango, banana, dragon fruit, and strawberries. You could have a breakfast egg sandwich with tomato, onions, leafy greens, and avocado. For a snack, you could have some Greek yogurt with a variety of berries. There are an endless number of ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. Even if you don’t have access to fresh produce, you can still purchase frozen fruits and vegetables which are equally nutritious, accessible, and affordable.
I find if I prewash and prepare an assortment of fruits and veggies and put them in containers in the fridge, they disappear fairly quickly by all snackers alike. There aren’t any substitutes for healthy, active lifestyle choices and a well-balanced diet which are the key to weight/fitness goals as well as a long, happy, healthy life. Next time you’re looking for a snack why not reach for some fruits and vegetables and enjoy eating the rainbow? Be well.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Content may be edited for style and length.
References/Sources/Materials provided by:
This article was written by Tamsyn Webber at worldhealth.net