12/16/2010

Color Me Healthy

From orange through to violet, Karen Fittall finds out just how healthy a ‘rainbow diet’ is
Don’t worry. We haven’t gone all ‘fad diet’ on you. When we say ‘rain bow’, we’re not suggesting you chow down on nothing but red fruit, yellow vegetables and green everything else. But, there is something to be said for squeezing as many naturally occurring food colors into your diet each and every day. Why? Experts agree that foods with similar colors, say eggplants and purple grapes, contain the same types of protective compounds, so it’s important to eat a variety of different colored foods. Here are a few of our suggestions.

Orange = achacha:

achachaPronounced ah-cha-cha, this egg-shaped fruit is native to the Amazon, but is now grown commercially in tropical areas of Australia. Achacha contains folate and vitamin C – four achacha provide around 25 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements – and has a sweet but tart or tangy taste. To eat, score the fruit’s skin around the centre with a knife and then squeeze each ‘half’ apart to reveal the flesh inside. Be sure to discard the seed.

rhubarbRed = rhubarb:

Technically a vegetable, rhubarb’s flavor and high-acidity content means it usually gets treated and eaten more like a fruit. Cooked is best to ensure the biggest health kick. That’s according to recent UK research, which found slow-cooked and baked rhubarb contained the highest levels of antioxidants. A low-salt, high-fiber vegetable, it’s also a valuable source of vitamin C – one cup of stewed rhubarb contains 45 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Blue = blueberries:

blueberriesWell know as an antioxidant powerhouse, the latest body part to get a boost from this berry is the brain. US researchers have shown drinking blueberry juice daily improves memory, even in older adults with age-related memory problems and those thought to be at high risk of dementia. The effect is thanks to the berry’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Blueberries should be covered and stored in the fridge for the longest shelf life.

kiwifruitGreen = kiwifruit:

Often celebrated for its high vitamin-C content, the kiwifruit’s health benefits are much more extensive, with researchers proving their worth for everything from warding off heart disease to protecting against cancer. Not only has kiwifruit been shown to reduce clotting risk and lower the fat content of the blood, but eating them regularly may also increase the availability of leukocytes – cells that help repair the damage done to DNA by free radicals.

Indigo = purple basil:

purple basilRelated to the garden-variety green or sweet basil, purple basil has a similarly shaped leaf, but it’s often serrated rather than smooth around the edges. And just like the majority of other purple-colored foods at the greengrocers, that distinctive hue is courtesy of the high level of anthocyanins, a potent type of antioxidant that this variety of basil contains. To store, wrap basil in a damp paper towel, put it in an airtight container or bag and place in the fridge.

Yellow = sweet corn:

sweet cornResearch has shown that when corn is heated it’s better for you. Scientists from the US’s Cornell University say the cooking or heat-treatment process involved in canning corn increase the vegetable’s antioxidant activity by up to 900 percent for ferulic acid, which is an anti-cancer compound. Choose corn that has a vibrant, green husk and store the cobs in an airtight bag in the fridge, with the husks on to prevent dehydration.

Violet = radicchio:

radicchioA type of chicory, radicchio has a distinctive bitter, peppery flavor, due to the fact that it contains intybin, a substance said to stimulate the digestive system. Just how bitter it tastes can depend on the season, with some chefs preferring the crops that occur during the cooler months when the flavor also takes on a sweet quality. A number of different varieties of radicchio are available, but the most common, Chioggia, looks almost cabbage-like.

2 comments:

Keizo said...

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Victor said...

These kinds of food are definitely very helpful and are needed to maintain your health. Stay healthy always; check out Supplements Canada now.

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