You may have heard the phrase eat the rainbow many times. And you might have realized that it’s referring to the varied colors of fresh fruits & vegetables. But have you heard an explanation of why it’s beneficial to adopt this strategy?
In his book Conscious Eating, Dr. Gabriel Cousens writes the color of foods is a silent communication from Nature about the characteristics of Her gifts to us. Each of the rainbow colors relates to a specific subtle energy center (or chakra) in the body and its associated glands, organs, and nervous system plexus. He gives the example that green foods are high in nutrients, like vitamin K, folate, and magnesium, that protect the (green) heart chakra. (For a deep dive into the connection of food & chakras, I encourage you to check out another of Dr. Cousens’ books, Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet.)
In addition to their individual specialties, plant foods of all colors are good for boosting immunity and reducing risks for diabetes & cancer. But according to this report by the Nutrilite Health Institute in Buena Park, California, approximately 80% of Americans don’t get enough of any plant pigment.
While eating more vegetables and fruit is always a good idea, focusing on eating a variety of colors will increase your intake of different nutrients to benefit various areas of your health, an article from Healthline reports. In an effort to encourage this in some small fashion, I’d like to share an abbreviated description of each color category, including the ways in which they go above and beyond.
Red – Tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates, red grapes, red bell peppers, and other reds help destroy harmful free radicals and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. A write-up from Food Revolution Network explains that lycopene and ellagic acid are two of the powerful phytochemicals at work here.
Orange – Foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, pumpkin, and apricots assist with healthy joints & skin as well as eye function. A wealth of beta carotene is found in these foods.
Yellow – The phytonutrients in lemons, yellow bell peppers, corn, butternut squash, papaya, & other yellows reduce inflammation and help our bodies detox. Flavonoids and vitamin C are responsible for these benefits, according to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Green – Chlorophyl, the green pigment found in abundance in foods like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, avocados, kale, limes, spinach, and asparagus, signals us to the potential for increased vitality, healthier blood, and stronger muscles & bones. Chlorophyl and human blood are similar in chemical composition and both carry oxygen, so it’s no wonder that eating green things makes us feel clearer and stronger!
Blue/Purple – The health-giving functions of blue and purple foods like blueberries, plums, prunes, figs, eggplant, and purple cabbage include reducing free radicals, fighting inflammation, and helping with our anti-aging efforts. An article from the British Heart Foundation notes that the pigments in these foods, anthocyanins, are powerful antioxidants, which have a role in protecting cells from damage.
White/Brown – Veggies in this category, like mushrooms, cauliflower, daikons, onions, and garlic, assist the body by removing excess hormones and carcinogens. Even though they aren’t as brightly colored as the others, these crucifers, alliums, and fungi offer a host of health-promoting advantages.
Increasing your color intake is easier than you might imagine. You can toss lots of color into a smoothie, create a beautiful new soup, or chop up a fun salad. Trying new fruits and veggies is a great way to expand your palate and boost the health of your microbiome & overall body function. And if you don’t like a new vegetable raw or stir-fried, try roasting it. Or sauté it in a good olive oil with plenty of garlic. That makes everything tasty!
The color-coding of plant foods broadcasts Nature’s goodness. Choosing to include a wide assortment of these colors in your daily intake can be most beneficial. Even when you don’t know their specific merits, eating a variety of colored fruits and veggies helps you achieve your best possible health.
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.