We all know we should eat five-a-day, but it can be easy to fall into a rut of just diving in head first into long-term favourites (hands up who’s been guilty of munching their way through a whole bag of clementines at Christmas?). That’s why we’re encouraging you to take in the whole spectrum of deliciousness - each colour offers something new and vital to your body’s functions.
Colourful fruit & vegetables contain phytochemicals which are antioxidants, thought to protect against harmful substances called free radicals. Diets rich in antioxidants are associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease among various other things. Take a look below and embrace all the colours the greengrocers has to offer.
Fruit & vegetables that are red contain lycopene and ellagic acid, which have been studied for their cancer-fighting effects. Tomato sauces and watermelon are high in lycopene, which has been found to reverse the progression of prostate cancer. Strawberries have been found to have the same effect on esophageal cancer.
We all know that orange fruits & vegetables are packed full of vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene which, yes, helps you see in the dark (well, it promotes healthy vision, so it’s not a total old wives tale). That’s not all they have to offer though. Citrus fruits contain a unique phytonutrient called hesperidin, which helps increase blood flow. If you get particularly cold hands and feet, eating an orange a day can help your extremities feel warmer.
Green foods are good for us. What’s new? Well - they’re actually famed for their health benefits for more reasons than you may realise. Green leafy vegetables are rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones and vitamin K - all essential for blood and bone health. But aside from this, they may actually also improve your mood thanks to a natural monoamine oxidase enzyme. And if the cabbagey taste isn’t for you, try a kiwi. They’ve been shown to alleviate a wide array of maladies, from IBS to insomnia.
Blue & purple
For those of you looking to maintain a youthful glow, deeply hued fruit & vegetables are rich in anthocyanins and reservatrol, studied for their anti-ageing properties. Berries in particular are renowned for their reparative work on stress and inflammation on the skin. And should you be watching your pockets as well as your epidermis, red cabbage is seen by nutritionists as one of the best superfood bargains with the highest antioxidant level of all vegetables per pound spent.
White & brown
They might not be the brighest bunches in the bowl, but white and brown foods still have beneficial effects all of their own. Cauliflower is rich in an anti-cancer compound called sulforaphane, widely touted as a possible miracle chemical that’s being studied intensely. Garlic, button mushrooms and onions also contain powerful compounds found to inhibit cell proliferation.