Eat a Rainbow!

It's the colour of food that makes it extraordinary! Within each color are brightly coloured, disease-fighting phytochemicals. Study after study proves their healing power. Evidence suggests that single plant pigments need other phytochemicals within that plant and from others to provide all their benefits. Supplements do not offer the same protective benefits as foods.

The Yellow-Oranges

Top choices: sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, oranges, butternut squash, pumpkin, mangoes, kale, spinach.

Secret Ingredients: beta carotene, alpha carotene

  • Cancer Fighter: Carotene acts as our defense mechanism to resist carcinogens. Carotenoids in fresh food can offset the effects of exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke.
  • Natural Sunblock: Yellow and orange foods can act as our body's own sun-protectant.
  • Skin: keeps eyes and skin healthy

The Reds, Purples and Blues

Top choices: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, saskatoon berries, cranberries, apples, cherries, pomegranates, red grapes, beets, red cabbage, black rice

Secret Ingredients: anthocyanin, betacyanin, proanthocyanidins

  • Brain Rejuvenators: Red and blue fruit such as blueberries and strawberries are packed with anthocyanin pigments, which are very potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They rid the body of free radicals and cytokines, which have been linked with neural and cellular breakdown from aging.
  • Heart Champions: The purple anthocyanin in black rice can reduce levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). It may also prevent your arteries from clogging up. The anti-inflammatory properties may also benefit people with arthritis.
  • Lower your Risk for Cancer: Anthocyanin pigments in fresh and dried berries may help help boost resistance to breast cancer.

The Orange Reds

Top choices: tomatoes, papayas, pink grapefruit, watermelon, guava, red peppers

Secret Ingredients: lycopene, beta carotene, zeta carotene

  • Cancer Fighter: This pigment will help fight prostrate cancer and will reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Lung Defense: Lycopene and carotene rich foods may substantially reduce your risk of lung cancer, as well as other cancers.
  • Heat releases the beneficial tomato pigments; adding some oil will make it easier for your body to absorb lycopene.

The Greens

Top choices: spinach, collard greens, avocados, broccoli, asparagus, watercress, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, romaine lettuce

Secret Ingredients: lutein, beta carotene, and chlorophyll

  • Visionary Vegetables: Green chlorophyll has disease-fighting, but it's the yellow under-pigment, lutein,  in leafy greens that really benefits eye health. Eyes absorb lutein which protects them from light and free radical damage.
  • Cancer Fighter: Dark leafy vegetables, like spinach and broccoli, help build resistance to colon cancer.

* See Chatelaine, September 2003, Vol 76, No. 9 or for further information