Fruits and vegetables all have nutritional properties, some of which we know about, such as helping to improve transit, and others that we’re no so familiar with, such as maintaining a strong immunity system. So, what is the link between the properties of a food and its colour? The magic ingredient is actually found in the pigment! Each pigment has its own nutritional properties and each fruit or vegetable does not contain just one pigment but several. One of them takes over and gives it its colour. Let’s have a quick look at the main pigments.
Red, orange and yellow vegetables …
possess their colour from carotenoids. They are soluble in oil, so do not over cook them in water. Several types of carotenoids exist:
- Lycopene in tomatoes, guava or watermelon have an anti-oxidant effect and contribute to the prevention of degenerative diseases (Parkinson, Alzheimer). Cooking tomatoes with a spoon of oil allows better assimilation of lycopene.
- Beta carotene, in carrots, peaches, oranges, sweet potatoes and green vegetables, stimulate the production of vitamin A, which helps maintain vision.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in dark yellow and green vegetables: spinach, kiwi, zucchini, asparagus and eggs protect the retina from age-related degeneration by filtering ultraviolet light.
contain chlorophyll, masking the yellow pigments (lutein and zeaxanthin, did you follow?). It allows for better oxygenation, a faster cicatrisation and it’s also an antioxidant. In these same vegetables, you can find vitamin B9 and vegetable iron!
Foods with a deep purple or dark blue colour …
such as Vitelotte potatoes, blackberries, figs, plums, beetroot, contain betanine, a powerful antioxidant that also stimulates the vascular system.
Brown and white fruits and vegetables …
contain anti-oxidants, like thyme, artichoke, cauliflower and bananas. Thanks to their pigments, Alliaceae (garlic, onions, leeks) are known as ‘anti-cancer foods’.
So, you’re probably thinking to yourself: what is an antioxidant exactly? Don’t worry, we have all the bases covered; have a look at this article which explains their effectiveness against free radicals.
So, now you yet have another tip to help you stay more healthy: the variety of colours! One last tip, since we are there: our antioxidant nutritional program will give you a healthy selection of menus promoting the fight against free radicals.