Orange, yellow, red, green, blue, purple, white, brown… did you know our fruits and vegetables come in all colours of the rainbow?
In fact, research shows we need to plate up as much colour as possible every day to get the maximum health benefits from fruits and vegetables.
Far too few of us eat the recommended daily intake of five serves of vegetables, and two serves of fruit every day.
Not only do we need to raise our quota of healthy produce – we need to do so across the entire colour spectrum.
So what colours can be of greatest benefit to your health?
Orange and yellow: Beta-carotene is usually found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. These fruit and veg also contain vitamin C – important for the body’s immune system and reducing the risk of cancer. Examples: Carrot, orange, pumpkin, lemon, corn and mango.
Red: The antioxidant lycopene is present in red fruits and veggies like tomato and capsicum – especially when cooked! It’s associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, particularly prostate cancer, and protection against heart disease. Examples: Tomato, red onion, capsicum, cranberries, strawberries and raspberry and red kidney bean.
Green: Green leafy vegetables like, spinach, cabbage, fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves and radish leaves is also associated with a reduced risk of gallbladder cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and brussel sprouts can reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Blue and purples: The antioxidant anthocyanin makes our fruits and veggies blue and purple. It can boost immunity and is beneficial for the health of our cellular membranes, including our blood vessels. Examples: Blueberries, eggplant, beetroot and plums.
White and brown: A banana a day can help to reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Examples of white and brown produce include bananas, dates, brown onions, mushrooms and artichokes.
We know that one third of all cancers are preventable through simple lifestyle choices like eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
So why not give colour a spin, serve up something delicious and nutritious, and enjoy your health and happiness!
For more information and recipe ideas visit healthier.qld.gov.au.