Want to maximise your antioxidant intake? Then fill your plate with the colours of the rainbow. The different colours of fruits and vegies signify a different class of nutrients that have a range of health benefits including protection from certain cancers, heart disease and the effects of radiation, pollution and ageing. To get a broad range of benefits, mix and match as many different colours as possible at each meal. Here’s a quick colour guide to the different nutrients and their health benefits:
Pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, mango, corn, rockmelon and others in this colour family contain carotenoids, which are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
Tomatoes, watermelon, ruby grapefruit and raspberries are packed with lycopene, which may protect against prostate cancer and heart disease.
Snow peas, broccoli, spinach and other leafy greens are loaded with the phytochemical lutein, which protects against macular degeneration.
Anthocyanins, found in blueberries, eggplant, blackberries and plums, are being investigated for their anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic and onion contain allicin and related sulfur compounds which have antibacterial and anti-viral effects. Foods in this group such as cauliflower also contain the anti-cancer compounds indoles and isothiocynates.