We’re on Day 8 of our Kick Start 2022 Plant-Based Challenge, and it’s time to begin putting the building blocks together to create some truly amazing meals.

Today we are going to begin combining colourful, balanced, and healthy plant-based foods on one plate. When you do this mindfully and deliberately, it can energize your inner artist as much as it delights your taste buds. Think of the produce section of the supermarket or a farmers’ market at harvest time — you’ll find fruits and vegetables in pretty much every colour, and that’s one of the most important principles of healthy living: Eat the rainbow.

 

The colours you see in plant foods aren’t just decorative; they come from powerful compounds called phytonutrients. Each colour has nutritional properties that are essential for vital body functions and play an important role in preventing several diseases.

 

Here is a look at the rainbow of phytonutrients,

Red. Thanks to marketing by tomato growers, you’ve likely heard about lycopene. But there are many other phytonutrients here, including the red anthocyanins found in grapes, red cabbage, and red berries, as well as ellagic acid (which you can consume deliciously in strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and pomegranates). These powerful antioxidants help prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Many red fruits are also very high in vitamin C.

 

 

Orange/Yellow. A well known orange phytonutrient is beta-carotene (a carotenoid) found in orange-yellow root veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as winter squashes and orange melons like cantaloupe. Many orange and yellow fruits and veggies are high in vitamins A and C. Hesperidin, a bioflavonoid found in citrus, helps to regulate immune function and blood flow, fights heart disease, and supports healthy vision.

 

Green. The phytonutrients in greens — namely chlorophyll, indoles, lutein, folate, and sulforaphane (in cruciferous veggies) — bring potent detoxifying, anti-cancer, hydrating, immune regulating, mood-boosting, and energy-producing benefits. Green veggies are also high in vitamin K1, and some green fruits (like kiwi) and veggies (like asparagus) are good sources of vitamin C.

 

Blue/Purple. The blue and purple plant foods are high in antioxidants, including anthocyanins and resveratrol. These nutritional powerhouses are loaded with anti-cancer, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, disease-fighting awesomeness. Blueberry everything! And the purple potatoes! And the purple cabbage!

 

White/Brown. Cauliflower, garlic, and onions are rich in phytonutrients and other powerful compounds, like allicin and quercetin.

 

TODAY’S ACTION: Make today’s recipe to enjoy an entire rainbow of nourishment.

 

Enjoy a rainbow of colours such as red bell pepper, tomato, and onion, yellow lemon, green broccoli, spinach, cilantro, purple cabbage, and brown ginger. Add some hydrating and high-fibre foods such as leafy greens and root veggies. Toss in a little whole grain (brown rice or farro will do) and some plant-based protein-rich nuts (cashews), You’ll get a hefty dose of antioxidants and disease-fighting compounds in just one delicious sitting!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at dairy and how easy it can be to swap it out for healthier alternatives 

 

Research by Food Revolution Network