I have always enjoyed preparing colourful meals that include a variety of different vegetables, because it just looks that much more delicious! Yet diversifying your colours and enjoying a rainbow of selection is more important than just being aesthetically appealing!
Different colours in different fruits and vegetables often indicate the different types of nutrients they contain. This means the more variety in color, the more variety in nutrients your meal will contain!
Here are the nutrients that specific colours often represent:
Greens - There are many different fruits and vegetables that come in a range of greens, including broccoli, spinach, avocados, cucumbers and green apples. Most contain nutrients including; beta-carotene, chlorophyll, calcium, vitamin C, carotenoids, indoles, saponins, folate, fibre, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Reds - Fruits and veg that fall into the red category include; cherries, red capsicum, tomatoes, watermelon, red chilli and raspberries. These contain a wide range of nutrients including hesperidin, quercetin, ellagic acid and a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, which is the pigment that gives the colour.
Purple/Blues - Purple and blue is more common in fruit and veg than you might first think. Including produce such as blueberries, beetroot, plums, eggplant and mullberries. These colours often indicate nutrients including; ellagic acid, lutein, fibre, quercetin, vitamin C and zeaxanthin. They also contain the pigment ‘anthocyanin’ (another powerful antioxidant) which is where the distinct colouring comes from.
Yellows/Oranges - There are many vegetables and fruits that fall into this colour category, including; peaches, apricots, corn, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, lemons, orange and squash. This colouring often indicates the presence of nutrients including; lycopene, potassium,, flavonoids, vitamin and beta-carotene, which is where the colouring comes from.
- Greys/Browns/Whites - Though they might not be as colourfully appealing as some of the others, fruits and vegetables that fall into this category are rich in nutrients including; lignans, beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG and allicin. Some of the fruits and veg that fit into this group include; bananas, mushrooms, potatoes, cauliflower, onion and garlic.
So next time you are deciding which veg to use in your dish, consider incorporating a range of colours. This way you are ensuring that you are getting a diverse selection of nutrients to nourish your body… Plus your meal will look colourful and amazing!