While phytonutrients – the natural nutrients found in plants beneficial to human health – have been part of the chemical makeup of fruits and vegetables for as long as they’ve grown on earth, it’s only been in recent years that specific phytonutrients have been isolated, identified, and studied for their many beneficial qualities. Worldwide research has now recognised that a diet rich in phytonutrients can help lead to optimal health.
To be as healthy as you can be, you should eat every colour of fruit and vegetable every day. That’s because each colour category contains unique phytonutrients, which act as antioxidants to protect your cells and have specific health benefits.
Are you eating in full colour? If you’re eating mostly beige and brown food, it’s time to break out a new meal plan "paintbrush" to get the mouth-watering taste and healthy power of phytonutrients.
To be as healthy as you can be, you should eat every colour of fruit and vegetable every day.
Phytonutrients are the natural nutrients found in plants, such as lycopene from tomatoes, resveratrol from grapes, and lutein from spinach leaves. Phytonutrients offer broad antioxidant protection and provide many health benefits, yet we often don’t consume enough through diet alone.
To help you get the most from your shopping cart, we’ve provided a colour breakdown of the different fruits and vegetables you should be consuming for optimal health, along with the associated phytonutrients and health benefits that come from making your plate a virtual rainbow of colour.
Health benefits of eating Red
Foods in the red colour range support cell, prostate, vascular, immune and DNA health.
Eat a wide variety of red fruits and vegetables to get the benefits of lycopene, anthocyanidins, proanthocyanidins, beta-carotene, ellagic acid, plus many more helpful red phytonutrients. Lycopene is in the carotenoid family of phytonutrients and can be found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and red cabbage.
Lycopene has awesome antioxidant benefits, and studies have indicated that an important health benefit of lycopene is support for prostate health. Additional studies suggest that lycopene may help promote lung and stomach health, while a high intake of lycopene may help to moderate the effects of UV rays.
Health benefits of eating yellow and orange
Foods in the orange and yellow colour range support healthy immune function, cardiovascular health, vision health, healthy growth and development, cell protection, and help to maintain skin hydration.
Make orange and yellow a priority on your plate to reap the benefits of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, and hesperidin, along with other key phytonutrients.Alpha-carotene, Beta-carotene, and Beta-cryptoxanthinare are known as provitamin A carotenoids and can be converted by the body to vitamin A. Foods rich in these phytonutrients include carrots, kale, spinach, and winter squash. These phytonutrients support vision health, help to maintain skin hydration, support healthy immune function, offer cell protection, and are important to healthy growth and development. Hesperidin is part of the flavonoid family of phytonutrients and is found abundantly in oranges, grapefruits, lemons, tangerines, and peppermint. In general, hesperidin helps to support good cardiovascular performance.
Health benefits of eating green
Foods in the green colour range support lung and vision health, strong bones and teeth, and help to facilitate interaction between cells and maintain healthy cell growth.
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) can be found in green, black, white, and oolong tea and has a variety of health benefits. It has long been recognized that EGCG is an effective antioxidant and supports healthy cholesterol levels as well as healthy endothelial function.Isothiocyanate is found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts and can help to support healthy cell growth.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are members of the carotenoid phytonutrient family and can be found in marigolds and many green, leafy vegetables. Lutein and zeaxanthin have high antioxidant levels and work together to support vision health.
Isoflavones are found most prevalently in soybeans, but are also present in chick peas and other legumes. Isoflavones have tremendous antioxidant properties and help to support heart health, bone health, and healthy cell growth.
Health benefits of eating blue and purple
Foods in the blue and purple colour ranges support heart, brain, and bone health and provide antioxidant protection.
Include blue and purple foods in your diet to get the phytonutrients quercetin, resveratrol, ellagic acid, and many different types of anthocyanidins and procyanidins.
Anthocyanidins are a group of phytonutrients that can be found in abundance in blueberries and elderberries, and many other blue and purple foods. Anthocyanidins have strong antioxidant properties and play an important role in protecting the body from free radical damage and support heart health. There is also evidence that anthocyanidins may support DNA health, skin health, and digestive health.
Resveratrol is a rich antioxidant source found in red grapes, pomegranates, and blueberries and has also been shown to support heart health.
Health benefits of eating white
Foods in the white colour range support healthy enzyme function, the maintenance of healthy bone metabolism, and also help preserve arterial function.
Include white foods in your diet to get the phytonutrients EGCG, allicin, isothiocyanate, quercetin, and anthocyanidins.
Allicin is found in onions and garlic and is very helpful in supporting heart and cholesterol health.
Quercetin is commonly found in apples, onions, and green tea and is a member of the bioflavonoid family of phytonutrients, which function as antioxidants and help vitamin C perform in the body. Quercetin is especially beneficial in promoting blood vessel health and supporting heart health.
Often it can be difficult to ensure you are eating enough fruits and vegetables of all your colours, why not take the guess work out of it and try a supplement like NUTRIWAY Concentrated Fruits and Vegetables.