Fruit and vegetables should be considered as the life of your diet, they are the ones packed with the most vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients and fiber. And they come in so many shapes, tastes, colours, textures, there’s some for all tastes and they never get boring.
More than just looking good and tasting good, they are excellent for your health and even have some properties each to their own. Now there is an easy way to remember what their properties are. All fruit and vegetables can be grouped into categories according to their colour, which is determined by what pigment they contain, giving them similar properties withing a same group of colours. Simple enough?
- Red Fruit & Vegetables – red apples, beetroot, red cabbage, cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, red grapes, red peppers, pomegranate, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon. They are all coloured by a pigment called lycopene, which in some of them helps reduce the risk of cancer. All berries also contain powerful anti-oxidants that protect cells against damage and keep our hearts and lungs healthy.
- Yellow Orange Fruit & Vegetables – Apples, apricots, carrots, grapefruits, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, yellow peppers, pineapple, pumpkin, sweetcorn, sweet potatoes, tangerines and yellow watermelon. They all contain beta-carotene which gives them their yellow, orange colour. They are packed with vitamins that boost immune system. They also keep your heart healthy and help fight illnesses, protect the skin, repair DNA and promote eye health.
- Green Fruit & Vegetables – green apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, green beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, cucumbers, courgettes, grapes, kiwi, lettuce, limes, peas, green peppers and spinach. Their components act like filters to light that can damage the eyes and they are also packed with anti-oxidants that can help fight cancer.
- Blue Purple Fruit & Vegetables – aubergines, blackberries, blueberries, figs, plums, prunes, purple grapes and raisins. They are full of anti-oxidants and vitamins to fight off damage on cells and prevent formation of blood clots that lead to heart diseases and stokes. They also help fight infections in the urinary track and help improve balance, coordination and memory.
- White Fruit & Vegetables – bananas, cauliflower, celeri, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes and turnips. They help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of heart disease, and stroke.
Obviously, to get the most of what your body needs, you needs to give it variety. All of them have got their own properties and for a vast number of them, they grow in different seasons so try and make the most of it then. In terms of nutritional content, the fresher the better. Remember that once a fruit or vegetable has been picked, it slowly loses its content of vitamins and minerals, so frozen can be a good option as techniques nowadays are really good and all the goodness is preserved while it is being frozen.
Be careful as well if you are trying to lose weight or control your intake of sugars. Fruit contain a lot of sugar, although natural, but still acts as other sugars and is quickly absorbed by the body and if not burnt as energy, is stored as fat in the fat cells. For the rest, it’s mix and match, enjoy and pretty much as much as you like…