Benefits Of Eating The Rainbow Diet

PHYTOCHEMICALS are naturally occurring plant chemicals and are responsible for the colour, smell and taste of each plant. Many of the health advantages of eating plant foods, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, herbs, and spices, are also due to them.

Each plant-based diet is packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other substances that promote good health. However, some of a food's most profound health advantages originate from the specific phytochemicals, particularly those that give the plant its colour.

Because each phytochemical provides different health benefits, we can maximize our health by getting in a variety of colourful phytochemicals each day. This is simply accomplished by consuming a range of vibrant plant meals every day- EAT THE RAINBOW!Breaking it Down by COLOR

Because phytochemicals act in so many ways, and there can be hundreds of phytochemicals in a single plant, breaking down the specific health benefits for each colour can be a bit tricky. Many of the benefits overlap and can be seen with many colours (like fighting cancer or protecting against heart disease).

This list shows just a few of the most common benefits we see with each colour/phytochemical but keep in mind there are many, many more and we are discovering new ones each day!

RED (Lycopene)

  • Lowers the risk of stroke and maintains the health of our hearts
  • Prevents and even combats cancer, particularly breast and prostate
  • Good for urinary tract health and for memory!

ORANGE/YELLOW (Carotenoids)

  • Decreases inflammation in the body and helps prevent cancer
  • Keeps the immune system strong and the skin healthy
  • Good for our vision - helps us see at night!

GREEN (Lutein)

  • Prevents cataracts and slows age-related macular degeneration to protect our eyes (natural worsening of eyesight as we get older).
  • Folic Acid, a crucial essential for having healthy infants, is also present (prevents neural tube defects).
  • Keeps our bones, teeth and nails strong and also prevents blood clots!

BLUE/PURPLE (Anthocyanins)

  • Helps us age gracefully by enhancing memory and maintaining youthful skin
  • Reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease
  • Helps fight cancers, especially those in the GI tract (mouth, esophagus and colon)!

WHITE/TAN (Allicin)

  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Keeps our bones strong and healthy
  • Helps fight cancers, especially stomach cancer!
Dr. Karuna Chaturvedi
Dietetics Department
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