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Did you know the health benefits of the COLORS in your food ?

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

Colour is one thing which attracts everyone’s attention. Looking at the colours is not just beautiful but also it relaxes the eye. The struggle of the light rays within the water droplets renders one of the brilliant view one can have : The Rainbow. Similarly, food decorated on the plate, varied in colors makes the mouth to water.  Red, Yellow, Brown, Pink, Magenta, White, there is possibly not a food which is not available in the available  colors. Beyond this there are foods, which have colors in their name : Orange, Blue berry, Green Apple, some being distinctly known by their color.

The vegetables viz. the carrots in red and orange, Bell pepper in green, red and yellow, tomatoes in red, Brinjal in indigo colour always attract . Do this natural decoration is useful in any way to the people who liked the colour and select the same when get attracted.

The Chef also prepares the dishes by adding some colour (safe to consume) to the dishes for beautifying their preparations. Now the question arises, Do these colours available in nature are of any use to the human beings who consumes them ? These colours available in the nature to the fruits and vegetables gives value addition to the fruits and vegetables. The natural compounds (phytochemicals) that give fruit and vegetables their colour are beneficial.

Many of these phytochemicals are antioxidants (natural chemicals that are thought to protect against harmful substances called free radicals), and diets rich in foods that contain these, like fruits and vegetables, are associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Eating a variety of foods will help you get essential nutrients and, by doing so, you’ll naturally embrace a broad colour palette. Fruits and vegetables are particularly colourful, so a rainbow plate can help you towards your 5-a-day. Plus, you’re more likely to enjoy eating an attractive meal.

Red is very prominent in the fruits which contain antioxidants including lycopene (in tomatoes), anthocyanins (red berries, including strawberries), ellagic acid (strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate) and astaxanthin (crab, salmon and prawns).

Health benefits:

Lycopene gives red fruits their colour. It is thought to have antioxidant properties that may help protect against CVD and has been reported to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Lycopene is more easily absorbed in the body when it’s cooked (such as in a homemade tomato sauce). While there is some research to support lycopene’s health benefits, much of it is low quality, so more research is needed. Don’t let that stop you including red fruits and vegetable in your diet.

As well as the usual vitamins, minerals and fibre that come with all fruits and vegetables, the pop of colour will add interest to everyday dishes. Add pomegranate seeds or cherry tomatoes to a green salad in dahi raita.

Orange is  high in carotenoids, such as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. The Health benefits are  Beta-carotene gives yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their colour and is converted to vitamin A in the body, where it helps us make hormones and keeps our eyes healthy. Carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potato are all good sources of this vitamin – hence the saying that carrots will help you to see in the dark. In the past, population studies suggested vitamin A (along with vitamins C and E) could help prevent heart attacks.

However, large trials of vitamin A supplementation either alone or in combination with other vitamins haven’t confirmed this. The relationship observed in the original studies may have been a coincidence, or the benefits of consuming nutrients in food may not always be replicated by supplements.

Taking individual supplements should be avoided, unless recommended by your doctor, as it’s easy to consume too much. There is no evidence that eating beta-carotene from foods is harmful, however, so it’s fine to have plenty of orange fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits like oranges are low in vitamin A but high in vitamin C. Dried apricots are a great source of fibre, iron, potassium and calcium too (but stick to a 30g portion as dried fruits are high in energy).

Yellow contain carotenoids including beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Health benefits: As with orange fruit and vegetables, beta-carotene gives yellow varieties their colour. Foods like sweetcorn, peach, papaya and egg yolk are also rich in the antioxidant beta-cryptoxanthin.

Like beta-carotene, our bodies can convert beta-cryptoxanthin into vitamin A. While some studies have suggested health benefits, such as reducing the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers, the evidence is not strong enough for us to recommend specific fruits or vegetables. However, including yellow fruits and vegetables in your diet helps you towards your 5-a-day.

The Green is having the pigment chlorophyll gives green fruits and vegetables their colour, but many green vegetables are rich in other nutrients too. Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and pak choi are all sources of sulforaphane and glucosinolate.

These vegetables also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, as do peas, sweetcorn, yellow peppers and eggs.

Health benefits: Studies suggest that sulforaphane may help protect against blood-vessel damage and certain cancers. However, most of these studies are based on mice, or human cells in the lab, rather than people.

Further research is needed in humans, including into whether eating broccoli will have the same effect as taking sulforaphane supplements.

There is evidence to suggest lutein and zeaxanthin-rich vegetables, like kale, spinach, broccoli and peas, may help prevent and slow the progression of an eye disease, age-related macular degeneration.

Rather than focusing on a particular fruit or vegetable, aim to increase the total amount of both in your diet, and don’t forget leafy green vegetables.

Anthocyanins give blue and purple foods their rich colours.

Health benefits are as  Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, which may have a role in protecting cells from damage. However, the positive effects seen in lab studies have not been seen in human studies.

Purple beetroot is rich in nitrates, which may help reduce blood pressure. This conclusion is based partly on research we’ve funded, although we need to do more research in humans.

As well as beetroot, purple lettuce, carrots, green beans, spinach, cabbage and radishes are high in nitrates. Overall, there are many ways that fruit and veg can help reduce your risk of CVD, so it’s best to focus on eating more and a wide variety.

Anthoxanthins are the pigments that create white or cream colours.

The health benefits are that  some studies have suggested that anthoxanthins may reduce the risk of CVD and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, but there is not enough evidence for us to recommend white fruits and vegetables over those of other colours.

The humble potato – a starchy carbohydrate – gets a lot of bad press, but potatoes are one of the biggest sources of vitamin C in our diets and are full of potassium too. Eat the skins for extra fibre and avoid adding fat when you cook them.

Bananas (which have creamy flesh under that yellow skin), the mushrooms are also good sources of potassium – an important mineral for normal heart and muscle function.

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