It started out as a tactic to get children to eat their healthy fruits and veggies but it’s a simple concept for us all to follow, no matter what our age, to make sure we’re getting a good variety of vitamins and minerals from our diet.
Each color in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients which protect the plant on which they grow, from damage or disease. There are thousands of phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables and when we consume them they help to protect us too. Studies have shown that these phytonutrients can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and certain cancers, as well as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar. Nutritionalists will also tell you that taking supplements is not as effective as eating the whole food, so it’s time to add all these vibrant fruits and veggies to your diet and create a plate that is so delightful to look at and pleasing to the palate.
Start off with RED, maybe in the form of red bell pepper, raspberries and tomatoes. Red produce has many cancer fighting properties. You may have heard that men should consume tomato sauce daily to promote good prostate health, it’s due to the antioxidant lycopene which is also found in watermelons in a high concentration.
ORANGE & YELLOW fruits and veg are rich in Vitamin C and carotenoids including beta-carotene which can convert within the body to Vitamin A and helps to keep the eyes, bones & immune system healthy. Try adding oranges, lemons, sweet potatoes and carrots to your plate.
You must have heard as a child that “you need to eat your greens’ well that’s because GREENS are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Dark cruciferous vegetables are one of nature’s superfoods and help to clear toxins from the body, increase energy, enhance immune function and improve your mood. So many great reasons to keep loading up on broccoli and kale, as well as zucchini, spinach and asparagus.
BLUE and PURPLE, think of blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage and eggplant. They contain the antioxidant ‘anthocyanin’ which has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Blueberries are another popular superfood whose properties can help to fight cancer, keep you young and boost your memory!
WHITE and BROWN, while not being included in the rainbow, are full of plant sulphur and powerful anti cancer compounds. Be sure to include cauliflower, garlic and onions on your plate, they add so much flavor. Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that has been made into a healthy substitute for rice, mashed potatoes and even pizza crust! Who knew we would love cauliflower so much!
How Can Papa Vince help to incorporate more fruits & veggies into your diet?
Remember to drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top of salads and vegetables to enhance the flavor and for maximum nutrient absorption. Vitamins such as A, D, E and K need to be paired with healthy fats for the body to absorb them efficiently.
As Sicilians we love to eat fresh vegetables or salad with every meal. We also love to share our recipes with you. Under the recipe tab on our website you’ll find a wide variety of recipes that will allow you to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. These are either family recipes or ones shared by our clients or culinary friends and they all follow the guidelines of the Mediterranean diet. Go ahead, try something different and load up your plate with the colors of the rainbow.
For the lemony hummus recipe by Jazzy Vegetarian, click here >>
You can serve this with a beautiful selection of raw veggies for dipping.
Sources for this blog post include:
Follow the rainbow to healthy eating on YouTube