Aussie produce takes centre stage as September rolls through. Now is the ideal time to ‘eat the rainbow’. Nutritionists place fruit and veges into different colour categories, each colour can indicate the presence of various vitamins and minerals.
The five colour categories are:
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. These also contain anthocyanins, flavonoids (flavonols) and saponins. They provide anti-inflammatory properties that are thought to be important in protecting against diseases. Think red berries, capsicum and apples.
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. These fruit and vegetables contain vitamin C, folate, potassium and vitamin A, all great for immune system function and healthy skin. Reach for oranges, carrots and lemons.
The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage. Go for blueberries, purple grapes, eggplant and red cabbage.
Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have health properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate. Eat asparagus, green beans, celery, spinach and avocados.
White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Other members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes are also a good source of potassium.
Eat a variety of fruits and veges of different colours and feel the difference this Spring!