With Rainbows being the icon of the NHS at the moment, lets talk about why eating the rainbow is so good for us!
One of my favourite pieces of advice was given by journalist Michael Pollan: ‘eat food, mostly plants, not too much’.
What’s that got to do with rainbows?
This week I want to set you the challenge of getting as much variety of colour into your diet on a day to day basis. Eat the rainbow…and no I don’t mean Skittles (actually I think that was Taste the Rainbow). Do this by eating real whole food, mostly plants, to satiety. This is the best way, without going into complex scientific detail, to ensure you’re achieving a good daily intake of micronutrients such as vitamin C, A and zinc that play such a vital role to our immune system. As the world eases out of Lockdown, we particularly want to make sure we are getting high antioxidant foods (think berries, dark green leafy veg and citrus fruit) to help us to oxidise free radicals keeping us happy and healthy.
So here it is my guide to eating the rainbow:
RED Peppers Tomatoes Strawberries Apples
ORANGE Oranges Sweet potatoes Carrots Squash Mango Papaya
YELLOW Banana Cauliflower Peppers
GREEN Greens! Spinach, Kale, Lettuce, Sprouts, Broccoli, Avo….the list goes on
BLUE Blueberries…need I say more
INDIGO Figs Red grapes Blackberries
VIOLET Red Cabbage, Beetroot, Aubergine, Purple Sprouted broccoli
This challenge isn’t about being as virtuous as possible, its about getting a broad spectrum of colour and variety because each colour represents a different nutrient that can be digested in food form. Science has literally only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to just how amazing plants can be. If you think you can get away with eating whatever you want and then chewing on a mainstream multi-vit daily, think again. Firstly, supplements are designed to supplement a good diet and secondly, at the end of the day, most supplements are synthetic. That doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they will never live up to the real thing.
Get creative my friends. Fruit and veg wise, aim high! Go for 8 portions (think a piece of fruit or veg, half cup berries, full cup greens), preferably 5 veg, 1 berries (any) and 2 fruit.
So, get creative my friends. Fruit and veg wise, aim high! Go for 8 portions (think a piece of fruit or veg, half cup berries, full cup greens), preferably 5 veg, 1 berries (any) and 2 fruit. Why not add some peppers into a tomato pasta sauce, chuck in a handful of spinach into your morning smoothie, buy mixed frozen berries and blend them with yogurt, roast a load of colourful veggies and have as a side with a cous-cous salad or chicken roast? And finally, make real food accessible. Have a fruit bowl while you are working; refill Kilner jars with whole grains, nuts and seeds, so they are easy to reach for when cooking, buy herb plants to brighten up you kitchen and add into meals. The world is your oyster!*
*Literally the highest source of zinc you can eat!