Keeping healthy in this time of confinement can be difficult. We all know, boredom, stress, and Netflix binging can lead us to those unhealthy temptations ….a few salty snacks, a chocolate chip cookie or three or perhaps a big slice of cake beautifully decorated by the kids with lots of frosting and M&Ms!! But we don’t have to forego our temptations for something yummy, we can have our cake and eat it too so to speak.
Here at 3 Graces Beauty, we love color! A variety of colors is also good for healthy eating too. You may have heard the saying “EAT THE RAINBOW”, which is a great way to design your plate and make sure you snack in a healthy, yummy way. Each of the colors of the Rainbow represents not only a range of essential vitamins and minerals but also groups of “Phytochemicals” which is what gives food its color pigments.
Phytochemicals you ask…..that sounds scary. Very simply, “Phyto” means the natural plant chemicals found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. These Phytochemicals (and there are thousands of them!) are responsible for each foods’ color.
Scientists continue to study this rich color array that nature delivers and have found many benefits to our health including the reduction of lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, as well as enhancing our immune systems. That is why Nutritionists recommend you eat the “Rainbow”, so you eat a wide variety of these phytonutrients every day.
Each color of the Rainbow represents a group of these phytochemicals ….so eating the Rainbow every day ensures you are hitting all the groups. It is also a fun and visual way to teach kids about nutrition. At 3 Graces Beauty, we love playing and mixing color pigments, so let’s take a look at how they can help us eat healthy.
The color of Passion! And this color deserves our love. Red fruits and veggies are rich in red pigment antioxidants like Lycopene and Anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that many of these have been associated with healthy hearts! This group includes foods like tomatoes, red bell peppers, radishes, strawberries, rhubarb, cherries, red grapes, raspberries, watermelon, red apples. Who knew adding a little red to your lips makes you feel great, but eating red is also good for your health!
PURPLE / BLUE
The colors of Wisdom and Harmony, we all need more of this! The plant pigment Anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive color. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that help protect cells from damage and may help reduce the severity of lifestyle diseases like heart disease and some cancers (NIH). This group includes beets, red cabbage, eggplant, purple asparagus, blackberries, blueberries, acai, purple grapes, plums. Interesting to note that according to color theory blue helps control the appetite – so fill up on those blueberries and grapes when you are feeling a little blue!!
ORANGE / YELLOW
The color of Joy and Sunshine. What more do we need!! Carotenoids give this group their vibrant yellow and orange colors. Well known Carotenoids such as Beta-Carotene and Lutein are found in this group and help maintain healthy eyes, noses, and throats. They are rich in Beta Carotene and Vitamin A. This group includes; carrots, cantaloupe, lemons, sweet potato, pumpkin, passion fruit, pineapples, mangoes, corn, oranges, squash, peaches, nectarines, apricots, grapefruit. Your daily ray of sunshine!
The color of Nature and Health. No wonder Mom always told us to eat our peas!! Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including Carotenoids, Indoles, and Saponins all associated with a reduction in lifestyle diseases and improved immunity. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of essential vitamins and folate, which is important in pregnancy. This group includes spinach, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, peas, green apples, green grapes, limes, kiwifruit, green beans, lettuce, cabbage, celery, cucumber, green bell pepper, Moringa seed powder, Kale.
The colors of Comfort and Youth, so you can relax and have energy too! White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as Allicin (found in garlic and onions) which are known for their antiviral and antibacterial properties. Brown foods like mushrooms and dates are rich in flavonoids and antioxidant-rich Anthocyanins which may also help manage inflammation. This group includes cauliflower, brown pears, mushrooms, white peaches, garlic, bananas, potatoes, dates, Pataua, onions, ginger, parsnips, turnip. This group also includes dark chocolate for a little extra energy boost.
So just like us, get mixing on your color palette and create some yummy healthy snacks by building a rainbow! We’d love to hear about your recipes and ideas for a healthy lifestyle to share with our 3 Graces Beauty Community.
In Good Health,
3 Graces Beauty Team
- Fill up on Phytochemicals (Feb 2019) Harvard Health Publishing
- NIH Website – Phytochemical research papers
- Eat a Rainbow – www.NutritionAustralia.org