It’s almost summer and most of us are getting back into our healthy habit of eating fruits everyday. But how do we choose our fruits? Some people look at the “sugar” content and base their decision on that, others have a favorite fruit and just stick to it.
But fruits actually have a way of communicating to us, fruits talk through colour. The choice of the right colour of fruits are fundamental for a healthy lifestyle.
The fact of the matter is that the various nutrients in these food items, give them their characteristic colour. Every colour in fruits and vegetables are caused by specific phytonutrients. These are natural chemicals that help protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun’s harmful rays, and other threats. And each colour indicates an abundance of specific nutrients.
Blueberries, plums, and raisins can be found with a blue to purple hue. The colour Blue or Purple is due to phytonutrients known as anthocyanins. Plants produce these phytonutrients to protect themselves against attacks from insects and damage from UV light.These phytonutrients also are advantageous to us in promoting health and preventing diseases. This group also contains carotenoids, Vitamin C, Fiber and ellagic acid. All these are antioxidants, and anti-cancer agents.
The red colour in certain fruits are due to the presence of lycopene, which belongs to the carotenoids group. Thus, tomatoes, apples, strawberries and pomegranates, display their red colour. Lycopene is thought to protect against oxidation damage, especially due to ultraviolet light exposure and tobacco smoke.
Yellow and Orange fruits get their color from lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids. These also contain antioxidants like Vitamin A and C. Oranges, mangoes, lemons and pineapples have good quantities of these beneficial substances.
Fruits that are white in color form an important part of key nutrients (especially fiber, potassium and magnesium), and other micro constituents. The health benefits of white colour foods should not be underestimated and can increase shortfall of nutrients in our diet. Items in this category include bananas,brown pears and white peaches.
Here are a few ways to include more fruits in your diet:
❏ Keep cleaned fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator — ready to eat.
❏ Drink 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavoured drinks or soda pop.
❏ Have fruit for dessert.
❏ Keep a bowl of apples, bananas and/or oranges on the table.
❏ Bake with raisin, date or prune puree to reduce fat and increase fiber.
❏ Enjoy fruit smoothies for breakfast or snacks.
❏ Pack fresh or dried fruits for quick snacks
Different colours fruit can be an occasion to find tasty and alternative ways for the preparation of original dishes and to eat healthy food rich of vitamins and minerals with creativity and glee.