Eat the Rainbow
You might well be eating your greens, but are you getting your reds and yellows too? By eating produce from across the full colour spectrum – ‘eating the rainbow’ – you can be sure you’re giving yourself the widest possible health protection.
Eat: Tomatoes, cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruits, red apples, red grapes, watermelons, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, beetroots, red peppers, radishes, rhubarb, radicchio, red onions.
Benefits: These foods contain antioxidants, in particular, lycopene, which helps rid the body of free radicals, including toxins from pollution and smoking. Lycopene is also thought to protect against prostate cancer as well as heart and lung disease, improve memory and keep the urinary tract in good health.
Energetic Oranges and Yellows
Eat: Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, apricots, carrots, mangoes, pumpkins, yellow squashes, sweet potatoes, nectarines, peaches, pineapples, tangerines, yellow peppers, sweetcorn, yellow tomatoes.
Benefits: These contain alpha carotene, which protects against cancer, and also beta-carotene, which improves vision, lowers the risk of heart disease and boosts the immune system. (Although these nutrients can be found in other foods such as diary products and meat, these sources are not nearly as beneficial because you get high proportions of fat, too.)
Eat: Onions, ginger, leeks, garlic, cauliflower, celery, pears, bananas, dates, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, mushrooms, parsnips, white potatoes, shallots, turnips.
Benefits: This group helps keep the heart healthy by maintaining good levels of cholesterol. Onions also contain phytochemicals, such as allicin, which are thought to help fight against some types of cancer.
Protective Purples and Blues
Eat: Aubergines, blueberries, purple grapes, plums, grape juice, prunes, blackberries, blackcurrants, elderberries, purple figs, raisins, purple cabbage.
Benefits: This group is loaded with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. Nutritionists believe they improve memory function and reduce the chances of some cancers. Research suggests that they may also help to protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots, and possibly even delay ageing and the onset of dementia.
Eat: Cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale, avocados, green apples, kiwifruit, limes, green pears, artichokes, asparagus, green beans, endive, leeks, lettuce and leafy greens, peas, green peppers, spinach, watercress, courgettes.
Benefits: These all contain varying degrees of antioxidants (the darker the better), which help ward off some cancers, improve vision and strengthen teeth and bones.