You've certainly heard it said that “the more colourful the dish, the better”, and it's true! Food colours are related to their nutrients and benefits for our health. In this way, by varying the colour of food, we guarantee a diversified supply of nutrients to the body.
This colour variation in food is most noticeable specifically in fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds. In addition to being important to vary the colours, it is important to diversify the foods we choose and represent each colour, because, even though each colour has similar nutritional properties, each food has specific nutrients.
Convert your food into a nutritional rainbow and see how it can benefit your health:
- Orange: beta-carotene is the pigment that gives this colour to foods such as carrots and pumpkin. When consumed, beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A by our body, being linked to the maintenance and protection of tissues (namely the skin) and vision, as well as strengthening the immune system.
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- Yellow: fruits such as lemon and pineapple are examples of foods with a high content of vitamin C that promote better wound healing and have an antioxidant function in fighting free radicals.
- Green: leafy vegetables (spinach, watercress) or other vegetables of this colour contain vitamin A and chlorophyll, important in cell detoxification, antibacterial and healing action. Its richness in magnesium helps in bone and muscle protection. In addition, they are rich in vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting.
- Red: tomato, pepper, watermelon and pomegranate are examples of foods to which a carotene (lycopene) and anthocyanins give the red colour, presenting antioxidant properties that are related to tissue health (breast and prostate).
- Blue/Purple: fruits and vegetables such as grapes, red cabbage and artichokes are foods with a source of flavonoids such as anthocyanins and quercetin, as well as carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin that protect cells from harmful oxidation. These compounds contribute to the maintenance of proper brain function and blood flow, in addition to being antioxidants.
Remember to vary the colours of the food you consume at each meal, if you want to improve your health and consequent sport performance. It seems like a small step, but it will be important for the body to have access to all the nutrients, thus avoiding the worsening of nutritional deficiencies.
By Adriana Martins, Nutritionist
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