Our busy lives often mean that we don’t eat as well as we’d like to. Ninety percent of Indian adults don’t eat as many vegetables and fruits each day as they should. On the occasion of National Nutrition Week, Mrs. Swati Awasthi, Chief Dietician, Wockhardt Hospitals, Nagpur talks about the importance of including various colours on your meal plate.
One way to ensure that you are getting enough vegetables, and that you are getting full range of nutrition, is to aim for more colors on your plate. Looking at your plate to ensure it’s full of colors is an easy shortcut that lets you see that you are getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals and healthy antioxidants.
Nature hands us a wide spectrum of rich and varied colors on our plates. Fruits and vegetables get their color from the natural pigments which are good for us. Colorful foods contain many vitamins and antioxidants we need- with a few calories. The nutrients in vegetables & fruits work together to protect against cancer, heart disease, vision loss, hypertension and other disease in addition to helping us maintain good health.
THE VIBRANT REDS
Found in- Red fruits and vegetables- Tomatoes, beetroots, strawberries, cherries, apple, red cabbage, pomegranates, red grapes etc
What they offer- Lycopene and anthocyanin, which gives them their color and nutrition boost. Helps to reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis, hypertension and high cholesterol. As these are high in the antioxidants lycopene & anthocyanin they are good for the heart.
APPETISING AND MESMERIZING YELLOW/ORANGE
Found in- Carrots, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweet potato, yellow pepper, yellow tomatoes, oranges, papaya, peaches, mangoes, pineapples etc
What they offer- Alpha and beta carotene, which are turned into vitamin A in the body, give bright orange and yellow meals their color. Vitamin A protects your nervous system and promotes eye health. They also play an important role in maintaining skin health.
GO NATURAL, GO GREEN
Found in- Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers, peas, green pepper, green apples, kiwi, green grapes, lime, avocado etc
What they offer- green plants are full of chlorophyll, an antioxidant with a host of different health benefits. Main effect is clearing toxins from the body, which means lowering risk of cancer, supporting digestive enzymes and absorption of nutrients, boosting the immune system, increasing energy, and faster tissue healing. Green vegetables are high in vitamins C, K and E, which boost the immune system, promote healthy eyes and bones, and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
THE CALMING BLUES/PURPLE
Found in- Eggplant, blueberries, grapes, blackberries, plum, purple cabbage, etc
What they offer-The deep colors of these fruits and vegetables are brought to you by pigments called anthocyanins and are useful in promoting brain function especially boosting memory and help reducing inflammation in the body. Compounds in blue foods like blueberries work as anti-inflammatories, lowering the risk of disease in the oesophagus and colon.
Chronic ailments like obesity, diabetes and hypertension can be at least controlled properly with subtle lifestyle changes along with proper nutritional and exercise routines. Eating a wide variety of colorful foods with every meal is vital for boosting maximum nutrition and indicates an abundance of natural vitamins and minerals. Starting to eat right is a way to healthy and fit life.