Think about how beautiful our food looks when it’s bursting with color. Some roughly chopped fresh herbs, a runny egg yolk, a handful of berries — not only does adding color to our dishes make them way more insta-worthy, but turns out that the more colorful your food is, the better it is for your body too. Now, we’re not talking Skittles and Starbursts here — nice try — but instead, not-at-all processed, whole foods. A visit to the farmer’s market will reveal a multi-dimensional rainbow of produce for you to choose from, but did you know that each pigment offers up a unique set of health benefits? Whether you want to focus on making your meals as colorful as possible, or challenge yourself with focusing on one hue at a time, remember that when you cook with fresh produce, you can’t go wrong.
Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives all red fruits and vegetables their vibrant pigment, and it’s a powerful antioxidant too. When you eat tomatoes, red peppers, cherries, pomegranates, rhubbarb and red berries, you’re fueling your body naturally in its fight against toxic free radicals, which cause cell damage leading to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Try it: My classic Shakshuka recipe
Sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash — these are a few of our favorite things, and we love what they do for our bodies too. Also an antioxidant, the beta carotene found in these foods is converted into Vitamin A (retinol) when consumed, which is vital to the human body and helps support healthy skin, immunity, and good eye health and vision
Foods in the yellow family are nutrition powerhouses. That’s thanks to the carotenoids, bioflavonoids and Vitamin C they carry. These nutrients have endless benefits, including the immunity and healthy skin and eyes we find in orange produce, plus aiding in digestion, and strengthening bones and teeth.
Try it: A Carrot Turmeric Hummus
Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are often positioned as the poster children of healthy eating, and that’s with good reason. These foods are bursting with carotenoids and bioflavonoids, in addition to fiber, potassium, iron, calcium and folate — which is incredibly important during periods of growth like pregnancy, and supports our bodies against cardiovascular disease and memory loss. Oh, and the chlorophyll that gives these foods their green hue is a powerful digestive aid, hormone balancer and detox agent. Wow!
Blues & Purples
The darker the food, the higher the concentration of antioxidants, which means that dark berries, eggplant, and juicy figs are your body’s best friend. Look to these richly-hued foods for a reduced risk of high blood pressure, for anti-inflammatory properties, and to act as an anti-carcinogen in your body, which battle cancer causing cells.