Interestingly, a good way to see what vitamins and minerals are in a certain fruit or vegetable is by the colour. Let’s take a look at all the different colours and what they mean for that food.
Red fruit and vegetables pack a vibrant nutritional punch. Foods such as raspberries, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, cherries and beetroot all come in a variety of red shades.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this means that they’re high In lycopene and anthocyanins – two useful antioxidants. Antioxidants soak up damaging free radicals and can do anything from fight heart disease to decreasing the risk of strokes.
Blue and Purple
The darker the colour the higher the antioxidant level. Foods such as blueberries, blackberries, prunes, purple cabbage, eggplant, and purple onions are all in this colour group.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are another good source of anthocyanins. This specific antioxidant helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease which becomes more important as we age. As well as this, these foods contain two compounds which help fight cancer: flavonoids and ellagic acids.
Everyone has had their mother tell them to ‘eat their greens’ at some point in their life, but why?
This group includes broccoli, green beans, spinach, kale, green apples, kiwi fruit, and cucumbers.
It’s the vitamin K in these foods which help your body’s eyes, bones and teeth as well as helping your blood to clot. You should aim for 290 micrograms of vitamin K each day. For reference: 2 cups of spinach contain around 100 micrograms. Though, there are many green vegetables on offer so it’s easy to increase your intake in other ways. They’re also a good source of vitamin C and E as well as the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
Orange and Yellow
Foods such as carrots are high in beta-carotene (hence the name). Your body then converts this to vitamin A to aid your eyesight, skin, bones and teeth. Cantaloupe contains 541 micrograms of vitamin A in just two cups which is over your daily recommended intake (500 micrograms). You’re also recommended to eat 320 micrograms of folate, of which green vegetables are also high in.
Fruits such as oranges and lemons are a great source of vitamin C, that help protect cells and keep them healthy.
Apples, pears, bananas, and cauliflower all fall into this section. I know what you’re thinking – apples, pears and bananas have a different colour on the outside. Though, the middle makes up the bulk of the nutrition which is why they fall into this category.
White foods are abundant in antioxidants and can help lower your risk of stroke as well as other health conditions. So, the next time you’re making a fruit salad it might be useful to try and make it as colourful as possible not just for aesthetics, but for your health, too.