I have just returned from almost two months travelling around Phuket in Thailand as well as North India. Suffice is to say that over this time, whilst i have eaten many healthy lunches and dinners, i have put on a lot of weight and my body is not feeling healthy. It's time for me to change this and i have placed myself on a radical healthy eating regime for the indefinite future. My aim is not only to lose weight, but to also eat much better than I have been so that i can once again benefit from the many positives that come with a healthy diet. Being healthy and vibrant is an awesome thing, and quite what it feels like when you do eat well is not something that you can explain, it has to be experienced to be understood. Most people are just used to feeling how they do, and do not realise how much better their mood, energy levels, health can become when they eat the right foods! I would like to share what I think this means, and what we should eat to be healthy and vibrant. I think here is a good place to mention that we all need different things, and so whilst there is no set menu for everyone, there are some simple guidelines that we can all follow.
I would like to explain this in an unusual way of deciding what to eat, and what is good for us! The keyword here is COLOUR! One really simple way to help us choose healthy foods is to choose things that are colourful! Eating a colourful diet is a really simple way to let you choose foods that are healthy. Its not commonly known, but certain colours are really a great guide when choosing what to eat.
One of the best colours to eat is green which contain many important nutrients such as glucosinolates, lutein and zeaxanthin. This includes some great healthy foods such as lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, parsley, brussel sprouts and many more besides. If you want one simple rule to help eat better then increase the amount of green food you eat. Generally it is best to eat green foods raw, or lightly steamed.
Purple is another great colour to eat, and the colour purple is often indicative of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are great antioxidants which are very important in combating radicals and can really help reduce the risks of getting cancer. They boost our immune system and are natural anti inflammatories, great for the heart, and also for keeping slim. Plants use them to protect themselves from stress and so when we eat them they do the same for us. Some great examples of purple foods are blueberries, grapes, red cabbage, black rice, and aubergines
Orange foods often contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant as well as Vitamin C. Carrots are the most popular orange foods and also contain many other nutrients and vitamins. This is very good for healthy hair, skin, and eyes, and also boosts the immune system. Some examples of orange food are carrots, oranges, apricots, butter-nut squash, pumpkin, peaches, mangoes, and some lentils.
Red is a great colour to eat, and as long as they aren’t chillies, you can enjoy many red foods that contain lycopene and anthocyanins. These are also powerful antioxidants and have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of cancers like prostate and breast cancer, and even reverse it! It is also very important in preventing heart disease, and other vitamins that are present in red foods, such as vitamin A are very good for the skin, bones, and teeth. Some good examples of healthy red foods are cranberry’s, tomatoes, beetroot, red pepper, pink grapefruit, raspberries and watermelon.
Yellow foods are a result of pigments like carotenoids and anthocyanins. Yellow foods are often high in bioflavonoids, vitamin A, B, C and E and K, and usually contain a good source of minerals. Yellow foods contains so many different great nutrients that there is a long list of health benefits from eating them. Some examples are strong bones, healthy skin, and teeth, and improve your heart, digestive, and immune system. They also help improve gut health and oxidative stress which is important in preventing cancer. Some great examples are banana, corn, yellow pepper, yellow potatoes, pumpkin, pineapple, lemons, turmeric and ginger.
CAREFUL OF BROWN and WHITE!
Brown coloured foods can be healthy and some examples are chick peas, potatoes, rice, mushrooms, and nuts. Whilst some brown foods are healthy, it is important to balance this colour and be careful not to eat too much of it. Brown foods usually miss out on so many vital nutrients and are often eating in excess. Some examples of brown food that is eaten in excess are potato chips, french fries, chicken, bread, and rice. Whilst it is beneficial to have some of these foods, the body is much happier eating colours as they contain so many more vitamins and other health giving nutrients.
White foods are also often a result of food being processed or having their nutrients removed. They are also often related to foods that we should eat in moderation. Some good examples are dairy, yogurt, fish, nuts, and egg. Whilst some of these foods can be healthy, too much of them will lead to imbalance and you will miss out on other important nutrients.
So i hope that has been interesting! Eating by colour is such a simple way to decide what to eat to be healthy.. and the more colour you eat the more healthy you will become. It is such a simple guide, and whilst its not always 100% way of deciding what is good to eat, it is almost always right. One point that i should mention, although it is probably quite obvious, is that the foods you eat that have colours should be naturally coloured! Clearly eating a box of smarties, or artificially coloured sweets are totally not going to anything good for you as they do not contain all the goodies that i have spoken about. Therefore, choose food that is natural and processed as least as possible when choosing what to eat. Likewise cook things as little as you can, on as minimal heat as you can. Cooking things destroys the nutrition, and so boiling your veggies for example for a long time is going to make them much less beneficial. Including many raw foods with colour is the best way to go, and salads are one of the best ways to eat food with maximal nutrients.