The simplest way to ensure your meal seems adequately healthy is to note the colours on your plate (I’m looking at you beige and brown, bangers and mash). Or in your bowl (I’m not talking about a bowl of M&Ms!).
The colour of your food (also, not Skittles) can give you useful insight into which vitamins and nutrients are present in your fruits and vegetables. This is because the pigments that give the food their colour happen to reflect different wavelengths of light back at your eyes, which is how our eyes detect colour!
Red coloured foods contain lycopene (a carotenoid with a bright red pigment) and vitamin C which are both potent antioxidants that can provide protection against oxidants throughout our digestive system and in our lungs. Vitamin C and lycopene are able to enhance our immune system and protect us from cancer. Some lycopene-rich fruits to feast on are watermelon, tomato, dragonfruit (my favourite fruit!) and pomegranate.
Just a handful of strawberries per day could keep gut inflammation away
Yellow and orange
More carotenoids but this time they’re yellow and orange. The carotenoids in yellow and orange fruits (and green kiwi fruit) include beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in our body. There is also lutein which is great for eye health, zeaxanthin (also for eyes) and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants also work on boosting our immune system which is always a good thing. Especially since it’s our immune system which is our first line of defence against cellular mutations. Those mutations can end up as cancer if they aren’t caught in time! Orange foods to choose include fruits like oranges, mangoes, pawpaw, passionfruit and kiwi fruit.
Some of the antioxidants present in green foods are glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which contain cancer–fighting compounds. Also present are lutein and zeaxanthin which are great for eye health. Green fruits and vegetables also contain plenty of other phytonutrients to help keep your brain healthy. Feast on asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, Chinese greens, rocket (AKA arugula which is just so fun to say) and watercress. I always try to make sure I have some green poking out on my plate. Throw some side salad on your plate of steak and mash!
Blue foods contain anthocyanins, along with the ever abundant lutein and zeaxanthin. Again, these antioxidants protect cells against cancer-forming compounds and prevent brain disease through neuronal degeneration. Have a snack on blueberries and dark cherries — blueberries are more than just delicious! They contain more age-defying and disease-fighting antioxidants than any other vegetables or fruits.
Purple fruits are packed with flavonoids such as resveratrol. Flavonoids are the best for immune health, healthy blood vessels, stabilising blood pressure and can also have vision and cognitive benefits. Purple foods you ask? Try handfuls of red grapes, blackberries and mulberries. RED WINE is also full of resveratrol which is why a glass of red wine a day is so good for you! Just remember to limit it to just the one glass. Keep your liver happy.
Other than receiving nutrients from these foods there are other benefits to be had when enjoying fruit and vegetables.
Just a handful of strawberries per day could keep gut inflammation away.
Findings from a new study will be presented at the 256th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society through an article titled “Dietary intake of the whole strawberry inhibited colonic inflammation, restored immune homeostasis and alleviated gut microbiota dysbiosis in dextran sulfate sodium-treated mice.”
“The sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits of many people in [the USA]—high-sugar, high-animal-fat, but low-fiber diets—may promote colonic inflammation and increase the risk of IBD,” state the authors of the study.
Decreased inflammation of the digestive system through the use of fruits like strawberries would have a huge positive impact on patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBD is chronic inflammation of parts or all of the digestive tract.
Inflammation in the gut has huge impacts on us all, not just IBD patients, so look after your health because you’re worth it.
Discover some fresh seasonal fruits and veggies at your local greengrocer this week!