24 Jan A guide to adding colourful foods to your plate for good nutrition
A guide to adding colourful foods rich vitamins and nutrients to your diet.
Fruit and vegetables fall into different colour categories through unique phytochemicals which play a crucial role in protecting them from external factors (Nutrition Australia, 2020). These phytochemicals give fruit and vegetables their colour and many health benefits. By adding a variety of colours to your plate, you can ensure you are adding important vitamins and nutrients to help you perform at your best.
We’ve put together a guide to the different fruit and vegetable colours, and the health benefits associated with each. It is crucial to maintain a varied, colourful diet to ensure optimal nutrition, and adequate intake of phytochemicals such as carotenoids which research supports plays a crucial role in preventing and delaying onset of chronic diseases (Khoo et. al. 2011). Follow the guide below to learn more about each of the different colour guides and the unique benefits associated with each.
Leafy green vegetables are a rich source of folate, needed for every cell in the body.
Eat: Baby Spinach, Rocket, Broccolini, Baby Salad Leaves, Asian Greens, Green Apples, Grapes, Avocado, Kiwifruit and Pears.
Garlic has been found to have powerful benefits to the immune system. Vegetables such as Parsnips also contain potassium which helps nerve and muscle function.
Eat: Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic, Leek, Potato, Parsnip, White Peaches, Lychees and White Nectarines.
Yellow foods often have beta-carotene which is crucial for healthy levels of vitamin A which supports healthy skin, immune system and good eye health. Bananas also are high in potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure.
Eat: Bananas, Lemons, Grapefruit, Corn, Squash, Yellow Capsicum, Pineapple.
Orange fruits are a rich source of vitamin C. One orange typically gives us the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and also contains thiamine, folate and potassium.
Eat: Carrots, Pumpkins, Oranges, Mandarins, Mango Apricots, Peaches.
Red fruits and vegetables are rich in an antioxidant called Lycopene which is powerful in boosting heart health. Red foods also are rich in vitamin A and C.
Eat: Red Capsicum, Tomatoes, Chilli, Strawberries, Radish, Rhubarb, Watermelon, Red Apples, Cranberries, Raspberries.
Purple foods are also rich in antioxidants. This type of antioxidant called Anthocyanins help to give the dark appearance and is shown to support brain health and reduce inflammation.
Eat: Blueberries, Eggplant, Plums, Beetroot, Purple Carrots, Purple Cabbage, Blackberries, Prunes.
If you feel as though your diet does not have as much colour variety as you like, try vibrant meal and snacks that mix a variety of healthy ingredients. Breakfast smoothies, vegetable tray bakes and colourful salads are just a few ways you can start adding more colour to your diet!
Track your progress with a 4-minute SiSU Health Check!
Measure your progress over time by completing regular SiSU Health Checks. Find a SiSU Health Station near you for your free 4-minute Health Check to ensure you are keeping track of and improving your important health information.
Nutrition Australia, 2013. Resources; Eating a Rainbow. Accessed via https://www.nutritionaustralia.org/
Khoo, H., Prasad, K., Kong, K., Jiang, Y. and Ismail, A., 2011. Carotenoids and their isomers: colour pigments in fruits and vegetables. Molecules, 16(2), pp.1710-1738.