Do you remember that song from elementary school “I can sing a rainbow”? It goes a little like this
Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow too.
This song is most commonly heard sung by little voices bellowing from classrooms, but its time it breaks out of school. This song should also be sung while shopping at the grocery store or farmers market and while preparing meals. Now, you may be wondering why I am suggesting you sing a kids song while working with food. This is because foods that are the colours of the rainbow are packed with phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are found in plant foods, the word literally means “plant nutrients” and are responsible for their beautiful colours. These plant nutrients are important factors in optimal health and help protect against disease and fight free radical damage. There are a number of different phytonutrients also known as phytochemicals found in plant foods, such as lycopene, lutein, flavonoids, indoles, lignans, and plant sterols. These are abundant in fruits (watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, mango, peaches, strawberries, citrus), vegetables (peppers, carrots, squash, eggplant, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Swiss chard) whole grains (brown rice, quinoa), and legumes (beans, peas, lentils).
Benefits of Phytonutrients:
antioxidant properties – help to prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals
- Shown to protect against cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s
- promote healthy aging – reduce appearance of wrinkles (who doesn’t want this!)
- support immune system
- Positive effects on hormones
Phytonutrients are powerful and beautiful and should be included in every meal throughout the day.
Brighten up your dinner plate and eat the rainbow!