Over the Rainbow: Your 5-a-day goodness
In light of the 2020/21 pandemic, the rainbow has become an internationally recognised as a symbol of hope and the promise that things will get better. Alongside messages such a 'Stay home, stay safe' it's equally important we manage self care - one element of this is ensuring we’re eating a balanced, nutritionasl diet. As the saying goes - “Healthy body, healthy mind”
We all know how important it is to eat our 5-a-day, and we encourage
children to ‘eat your greens’. However, eating a rainbow of different fruit and vegetables is key to ensure we’re benefiting from a complete range of vitamins and minerals.
Scientists have discovered that the natural occurring chemicals responsible for giving every type of fruit and vegetable its unique rainbow colour serves to keep us healthy and free from disease.
At the end of every Rainbow ...
A natural rainbow in the sky caused by a mixture of sun and rain is a continuum of colours. Philosopher Aristotle (384 BC) and later Physicist and Astronomer, Sir Isaac Newton (17th Century AD) claimed there were seven main colours of the rainbow - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. This is the same for how we categorise the different colours of fruits and vegetables that make up the rainbow of nutrients, what do all the colours mean?
We've put together our handy guide to help you choose a nutritious balance of rainbow brights for your family.
Red fruits and vegetables are particularly high in antioxidants. Lycopene (as found in tomatoes and pink grapefruit) and anthocyanin (as found in cherries, raspberries and cranberries) are just two of the red pigments, both providing antioxidants thought to improve heart health, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and help guard against some types of cancer.
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash, get their pigment from beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A when consumed. Vitamin A is important for maintaining eye health and keeping skin healthy. Citrus fruits aren’t as high in Vitamin A but are particularly high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the immune system.
Much like orange, yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in retinol and Vitamin A1 that are good for the skin. Yellow is the colour of the sun and in the same way these chemicals keep skin radiant, healthy and glowing and help to reverse age and sun-related skin damage. These antioxidants also fight to combat illnesses such as heart disease. The banana, one of the most popular family fruits is packed full of vitamin A, B, C, E and zinc, potassium and magnesium which is pretty much as good as it gets!
Green fruits and vegetables get their colour from chlorophyll, but the specific nutrients depend on the type of plant. Greens contain many essential nutrients, some of which may help protect against certain cancers and high cholesterol. Leafy greens in particular are high in iron and folic acid, the latter being especially important during pregnancy, whereas dark greens support visual health.
Blue, Indigo, Violet ...
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables, much like many red berries, also get their colour from anthocyanin. This antioxidant is found in blue and purple fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, beetroot and red cabbage. As well as being delicious, these colourful foods have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, improve memory and help to maintain urinary tract health.
All images from Pinterest
Want to teach your children more about fruit and vegetables?
Our January 2021 Book Corner featured book is 'Fruit & Vegetables' - a sticker book for younger children that educates them all about nature's harvest. Read more
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