Ever wondered why spinach is so green and blueberries are so blue? The answer is Phytochemicals. These substances only occur in nature in plants and they provide us with numerous health benefits.
The amount of vegetables you eat isn’t the only thing you need to take into consideration. You also need to attempt to consume fruits and vegetables in a variety of different colors. This is because the different colors of fruits and vegetables indicate the different nutrients they contain.
Consuming a rainbow of fruits and vegetables helps insure you get enough of the different nutrients you need for good health.
Each different color fruit and vegetables contains unique health components that are essential to our health.
The main pigment that gives the red color to fruits and vegetables is Lycopene. A carotenoid, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks.
Red fruits and vegetables are also rich in flavonoids, resveratrol and vitamin C as well as folates.
Carotenoids or beta carotene is responsible for imparting the orange-red pigment color to certain fruits and vegetables. These are extremely rich in vitamin A and retinol-which is needed for acne and wrinkle prevention. Vitamin A is needed for strong immune function and healthy vision.
Research is showing that certain beta carotenes are also useful in preventing cancers of the stomach, esophagus etc. Examples: Mangoes, apricots, carrots, pumpkins, squashes, etc.
The compounds that give yellow fruits and vegetables their color are called carotenoids. Carotenoids may help improve your immune function and lower your risk for heart disease, vision problems and cancer. Folate, potassium, bromium and vitamin C are also often found in yellow fruits and vegetables.
Examples:-Lemon,pineapple,sweet corn,yellow peppers, etc.
Chlorophyll gives green fruits and vegetables their color. Some of these fruits and vegetables also contain indoles, which may lower your risk for cancer, and lutein, which helps prevent problems with your vision. Other common nutrients in many of these fruits and vegetables include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.
This color is due to the fruit’s anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that provide numerous heart healthy benefits. The darker the blue color, the higher the concentration of phytochemicals in it. Go in for blueberries, eggplants etc for getting Anthocyanins. Blueberries are especially known for their very high antioxidant levels.
Other fruits containing Anthocyanins include: pomegranates, blackberries, plums, prunes,brinjal etc.
White fruits and vegetables get their color from polyphenol compounds with antioxidant properties called anthoxanthins, which may help lower your risk for heart disease and cancer. Some white foods, like garlic, contain allicin, which may help lower your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer and heart disease.
These foods may also be good sources of potassium, vitamin C, folate, niacin and riboflavin. A study published in November 2011 in “Stroke” found that consuming more white fruits and vegetables may lower your risk for strokes.