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Eat a rainbow

The different colours in fruits and vegetables signal the presence of different groups of phytochemicals, so aim to 'eat a rainbow' every day to gain maximum health benefits.

  • Red pigments are antioxidant heroes: anthocyanins and carotenoids. Lycopene, the carotenoid found in tomatoes, packs a powerful antioxidant punch. Vitamin C is also often present.
  • Green for antioxidants; vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids. Broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts contain antioxidants and contribute significant amounts of fibre, folate, B vitamins, vitamin K, iron, potassium and calcium.
  • White, tan and brown fruits and veges contain phytochemicals. Allicin, an antibiotic and anti-fungal compound, is found in garlic, leeks and onions. Potatoes make a significant contribution to our intake of vitamin C.
  • Blue/purple fruits and vegetables contain health-promoting phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and other antioxidants currently being studied for their antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.
  • Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in the antioxidant carotenoids, which also give them their vibrant colours, as well as many other phytochemicals. The yellow-orange group is also a good source of fibre.
First published: Jan 2007



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