I had a thought recently that if I could color coordinate my meals just as I would do my wardrobe for the benefit of my health needs, what would that look like exactly? That is, mindfully choosing to eat from specific colour groups to look and feel great from the inside out.
Being aware of what I am consuming daily to take care of my body appropriately is important to me. I know where I am lacking nutrients and by consuming the right types of foods, I am looking after myself.
Understandably, I know that maintaining a balanced diet with a range of fruit and vegetables will provide me with a daily source of vitamins and minerals needed to fuel and look after my body but I had never thought about eating specific foods to target my deficiencies or to make up for inconsistencies in my diet.
To eat healthier and nourish my body, I further investigate the colorful fruit and vegetable groups and their specific benefits.
With a tremendous range of delicious fruit and vegetable options to choose from as you will discover below, it’s hard not to include these colors in your daily meals. Bright yellow and orange colored fruit and vegetables are rich in immune-boosting Vitamin C, skin-loving Vitamin A, Folate, and Potassium to assist with protecting and regenerating the body. Vitamin C is also great to support iron absorption and assist for an overall healthier body function.
What to eat:
Tropical Fruits: Mango, papaya, pawpaw, yellow watermelon, golden kiwi fruit, rockmelon, pineapple, starfruit
Citrus: Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangelo, grapefruit
Stone and seeded Fruit: Peaches, yellow plums, apricots, nectarines, mandarins, yellow-skinned apples, yellow pears
Vegetables: Carrots, orange capsicum, orange lentils, pumpkin, sweet potato, sweet corn, button squash, yellow capsicum, yellow tomatoes, yellow zucchini.
This colorful food group not only provide the benefits of Vitamin C for healthy bones, teeth and joints but red colored fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, compounds found naturally in many fruits and vegetables that have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants to protect the body against illness and disease.
What to eat:
Fruit: Red apples, cherries, cranberries, red grapes, guava, red pears, red plums, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, ruby grapefruit.
Vegetables: Red capsicum, radishes, tomatoes, red cabbage, red chillies, red skin potato and sweet potato, red onion, rhubarb.
The antioxidant anthocyanin is responsible for the pigment that gives this group its deeper colors. Consuming fruit and vegetables that are naturally blue or purple may protect against insulin issues, vision problems and cardiovascular disease. Along with the added benefit of Vitamin C, these foods can get the skin glowing and your immune system strong, while reducing fatigue.
What to eat:
Fruit: Blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, purple figs, purple grapes, mulberries, passionfruit, purple plums, prunes, black grapes, plums.
Vegetables: Eggplant, beetroot, purple cabbage, purple carrot, purple kale, red onion, radicchio.
We are always told to eat our greens, and as you will see below, this group’s health benefits are plentiful! Iron is the most common takeaway from your leafy greens helping with focus and energy levels. Again, Vitamin C provides the benefits of cell protection. Vitamin K assists with bone health, improved memory and a healthy heart.
Folate is crucial for growing bodies and pregnant women and also regulates blood and a healthy immune system. Potassium assists with the nervous system and muscle function, as well as electrolyte imbalances.
What to eat:
Fruit: Green apples, green fig, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, lime, green pears.
Vegetables: Asparagus, green beans, celery, spinach, fresh broad beans, Asian greens including bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, green capsicum, cucumber, globe artichokes, green herbs (including micro herbs), green kale, leeks, avocado, lettuce, green peas including sugar snap peas and snow peas, silverbeet, spring onion, green zucchini.
By Genevieve Reynolds
Editors note: This article is just a guide. Please seek professional advice before making changes and to best look after your dietary requirements.