Eating The Rainbow - Why Consuming A Wide Variety Of Colours In Your Diet Is Important

October 18, 2021
Eating The Rainbow - Why Consuming A Wide Variety Of Colours In Your Diet Is Important

Eating a wide variety of food has long been championed by nutritionists and dietitians. Doing so, they claim, is a good way to eat a well balanced diet. However, some go further and say that you should eat a wide variety of colours in your diet. Some refer to that as eating the rainbow and claim that it is one of the easiest and single most important things that you can do to improve your food consumption. 

What Is Eating a Rainbow?

Eating the rainbow simply means ensuring that you eat a diverse mix of colours in your diet, with particular emphasis on fruits and vegetables. So eating red peppers along with aubergines, peas, potatoes and bananas would mean that you have eaten a red food, as well as foods that are purple, green, white and yellow in colour. As a result, you will have eaten a wide range of food colours. 


Recommended Read: The Lowdown On High GI Foods - Why Knowing The GI Number Of A Food Is Key To Healthy Eating

Why is Eating the Rainbow Important? 

Eating the rainbow is important to help provide a number of benefits that will make you feel healthier and have more energy. This is due to the following reasons:

Different Vitamins and Minerals

Thanks to eating a wide variety of colours by eating the rainbow, you are immediately ensuring that you have as many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as possible in your diet. Those nutrients are vital for your body to run optimally which is why it can have such an impact on your overall health. When you suffer from a deficiency, the ramifications on you can vary. You may exhibit different symptoms depending on what vitamin or mineral you are lacking. For example, if you do not get enough iron in your body, you can suffer from a condition called anemia. When you are anemic you tend to lack energy. By eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, you can easily ensure that you will not lack anything your body requires. 

Easy Way to Ensure Variety

Another reason that eating a rainbow is so vital to your body’s health is simply that eating a wide variety of colours is so easy. It is a quick visual aid that can help you plan a well balanced diet across all melas you have in a week. If you see, when opening your fridge, that the majority of food in there is beige, your diet will be lacking all the food types and nutrients it needs. This may play havoc with your digestion, amongst many other repercussions, that arise from poor diet. But, if you open your fridge and see a rainbow of colours within it, you know quickly that your diet will be providing you with everything you need that week. 

Interest

While we all have our favourite foods, eating the same thing day in day out - however much we love it - can get a bit boring, not to mention being bad for you. By eating foods that span the entire rainbow, that variety will also keep your diet interesting in terms of taste to you too. While that in general is simply a more interesting way of living and eating, what is also good about eating a wide variety of foods is that if you are trying to eat healthily or follow some sort of healthy eating diet - you are far more inclined to stick to it. So many people fall off their diet wagon simply because they are bored of eating carrot sticks and celery sticks as a snack, for instance. If they have a whole load of different fruits or veggies cut up in their fridge, they will not get quite so easily bored. 

Different Benefits of Different Coloured Food

So what are the different nutrients and health benefits of the different colours that different fruit and veg are? 

Red

Red foods (like tomatoes, peppers and watermelon) are generally full of antioxidants and have been seen to be anti-inflammatory as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. They have also been seen to minimise skin damage caused by the sun. Dark red foods specifically (like beetroot) have been noted for helping the blood take in oxygen and therefore reduce the chance of high blood pressure. 

Orange and Yellow

Like red foods, yellow and orange foods will often be both anti-inflammatory as well as full of antioxidants. They too can help minimise the risk of heart disease, but have also been seen to be highly beneficial in the support of good eye health. Highly powerful orange and yellow foods are sweet potatoes, oranges, bananas and carrots. 

Green 

Of all the colours of fruit and veg, green veggies - particular cruciferous veggies - are incredibly important when trying to lower the risk of suffering from cancer as well as heart disease. Increasing your intake of kale, broccoli, chard and spinach will really help anyone in the quest to eat more healthily. 

Blue and Purple

Blue and purple foods have been seen to be great at enhancing how the brain works as well as lowering the risk of suffering with a neurological disorder. Additionally, blue and purple foods can be very helpful in the fight against type 2 diabetes as well as cancer and heart disease. Like all fruit and veg, they are also fantastic for having anti-inflammatory qualities and antioxidants. 

White or Brown

While white and brown foods, like mushrooms, cauliflower and onions are also great like other veggies at being anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants, they have also been seen to help reduce the risk of colon cancer specifically - as well as other cancers too. 

Why Should We Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables?

When you read about the health benefits that eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables can provide, it makes logical sense to do it. However, many of these foods require that little bit more prep and so it can be tempting to resort to processed, convenience food - which is often beige. If you find this to be the case, meal kit delivery services can be really helpful to you as they do minimise a lot of the faff around food prep. Ingredients are pre weighted, and in some cases already cut up for you. Plus, meals are designed by chefs with nutritionists who will be ensuring your meals are well balanced and pack as much as a nutritional punch as possible - without you having to think about a thing.


Rachel Lee
Having worked at Morgan Stanley and BNYMellon for over 10 years in pensions and investments, Rachel now works as a full-time business and financial writer.

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