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How to color your diet? Eat a rainbow!

Shivangana Vasudeva, NDTV, Modified: November 29, 2013 17:57 IST

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How to color your diet? Eat a rainbow!The other day I walked into a humble yet impressive restaurant that boasts of catering to all sorts of taste buds. With nothing in mind but a penchant for some good food I ordered for a blush red chilled tomato soup and a lavender eggplant salad for the start. As for the mains a green curry with rice along with a sunset orange-lemon drink adorned the table.  A glance at my table and I hear a passerby mumble, "Wow that table looks colorful". That struck a chord and sure it did because I went back only to explore the linkup between colors and food. What fascinated me the most is what I share with you!

Summer, the season of colors is here, when every fashionista tries to pep their wardrobe up with a riot of vibrant hues. Ever thought about increasing the color ante on your plate?

We've been fed with Popeye fables of how important our greens are, but what about eating our reds, yellows, blues and purples too?

Let's face it, if your diet is a monotonous regime of the same veggies day in and day out, then you need a change in menu. Food is not colorful by accident or only to make it look pretty. There is a reason why cherries are red, carrots are orange and spinach is green. It is the 'color' of food that assesses its nutritional make-up more so than the 'type'. Every color essays a specific role in our body.  So go ahead, be a little adventurous. There are a whole lot of goodies waiting to be explored.

It's interesting to know that the spectrum of food colors suggested by experts includes red, orange, yellow, blue/purple and white which are synonymous to a rainbow. Why then, the shortcut to boost your health is to eat a rainbow!

Indulge in the choicest of minerals and nutrients by adding color to your diet. And just so you may know, the deeper and more intense the color, the more nutritious it becomes.

The crimson red tint comes from lycopene, a chemical which aides in fighting cancer.  Red foods are known to promote heart health and boost immunity. Tomatoes, beetroots and cherries are prime examples of crimson foods that heal.

Sunset hues of orange foods get their color from beta- carotene which is known for its anti-oxidant mojo. Dote on oranges, carrots, apricots and sweet potatoes; they do wonders to your skin, making you look younger and fresher. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in our body.

Yellow food like bell peppers, pineapple and lemons are packed with Vitamin C. Our body cannot make or store Vitamin C therefore it's advisable to gorge on foods loaded with it.

White flesh foods like pears, cauliflower and banana fuel your need for dietary fibers. I'd like to call them the 'smart carbs'. They are known to slash the risk of a heart stroke.

Lastly, the blues and the purples. These are the superstars of health. They are powerhouses of a chemical called anthocyanin, which is known to guard against the aging process and improve our mental functions. Blueberries, eggplant, purple grapes, jamun and red cabbage should top your grocery lists.

You first eat with your eyes and colorful foods are the happiest! So the next time you sit down to grab a bite, check whether your meal looks as spirited as the rainbow! (and from personal experience a colorful platter is definitely more appetizing.)

Let food be the new fashion this summer. Stock up your refrigerators with the colors of nutrition!

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Tags:  colors, diet, healthy

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