To keep healthy you need to eat a rainbow of colours daily.
Green vegetables have lots of nutrients; for instance both kale and watercress are high in calcium, iron and vitamin C. Kale also has high levels of magnesium which reduces anxiety, watercress also contains gluconasturtlin which is an anti-carconogenic compound as well as vitamin K to strengthen bones and help prevent dementia.
Red foods such as red peppers and tomatoes contain lycopene which can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Lycopene is absorbed more easily when cooked gently. Red peppers are high in vitamin C which aids the absorption of iron so eat with foods rich in iron such as spinach. Strawberries contain anthocyanins which help protect against cancer, heart disease and inflammation.
Sweetcorn, yellow peppers and squash are rich in lutein which is known as the “eye vitamin” as it protects eye health. The spice turmeric contains curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory so it is good for painful joints. It does not have a strong taste so try adding it to curries, soup and stews to get the benefits.
Try to include orange foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots and mangoes at each meal. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A as well as containing vitamins B6 and C and they help to regulate blood sugar. Try using them mashed as a topping for fish pie as an alternative to regular white potato mash, this saves on calories as there is no need to add milk or butter.
Alternatively, peel, cut into wedges, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in a medium oven, gas 4, 180o for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with a little chilli powder and serve. Carrots too are packed full of nutrients and can be added to soups and stews or grated into a salad or smoothie.
Purple foods include red cabbage, red onions and blueberries. The blue pigment provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Red cabbage is also provides vitamins A, C and K as well as manganese which is good for bones. Beetroot contains betanin and folate which nourishes the blood and liver. A recent study has found that women who eat 3 or more portions of blueberries a week can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32%.
White fruit and vegetables contain anthoxanthins and the antioxidant effect may reduce the risk of cancer. White vegetables other health benefits, for example cauliflower is a good source of vitamins B6, C and K whilst mushrooms can help with weight loss and boost immunity; parsnips contain manganese and potassium which improves heart health and garlic reduces inflammation and is also toxic to several types of cancer.