For a healthy you. By Kalpana M Naghnoor
Red: that rich life-giver The colour red is so enticing. Even children find it interesting. Pomegranates, plums, tomatoes, beetroot, cherries are all rich in beta carotene. Raspberries and cranberries are all packed with rich antioxidants, with that delicious oozy sweet-sour taste, which is great in shakes. Milk and yoghurt are rich in proteins and calcium and an amalgamation of it with berries; these rich colours will tinge your cheeks to stay rosy! An apple a day keeps the doctor away, is often heard because apples contain quercetin, a compound that fights colds and allergies, and keeps the influenza at bay. There is also a compound called lycopene, which fights cancer and can be found in watermelons and tomatoes.
Yellow: the sunshine colour
When we think of yellow we think of the cheerful brightness. The colour itself gives one a good feel. That is precisely why many parents and schools incorporate that colour on the walls, to keep children happy; the sunshine colour. So the yellow coloured fruit is the banana. It is full of potassium – a mineral which helps in calming our nerves and stops the muscles from cramping. That is why athletes are recommended to carry bananas with them, so that they can recuperate their energies fast. The banana just does that, it is an energy booster. The added advantage of the fruit is that since it is very easy to carry and eat and a very non-messy fruit, and available at every nook and corner. This fruit also contains magnesium as well as vitamin-A which are very beneficial to anti-ageing. There are yellow bell peppers, corn lemon and more sunshine! The young colour to keep you young!
Purple: people don’t ignore this colour
Purple is the colour that is going to keep your skin glowing! The purple veggies contain anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that enrich our tissues and prevent the rupturing of blood vessels. There is something going on in our body, the day to day routine that the body performs and which we take for granted. So now let us help that process since it keeps us going. Flavonoids are also an anti-ageing component that makes our skin glow by preventing the destruction of collagen. Collagen is a protein needed to support the skin and keep it glowing.
The purple egg plant is also rich in iron so that makes it an ideal vegetable to add to a meal. The egg plant is not a favourite dish among children, therefore we need to concentrate on the colours The thing about colour is that it appeals. There is a purple variety of sweet potato out of which the Japanese make moon cakes. They have pretty moulds, in which they press the cooked purple sweet potatoes. They make the moon cakes on an auspicious day and promote it as a purple vegetable, and hope it does the trick! There is the purple cabbage to add the crunch to a perfect meal as a salad. The purple grapes which can add the perfect dessert to the table! Perfect purple, keep the colour on your plate!
Green: the colour of natural living
When we see the rolling plains, it makes us happy. Just like that, eating anything green makes the body happy. Green is an easy colour to find in vegetables and fruits. In vegetables, we have spinach, there is a variety available around us and also now the broccoli is there to fortify our choice. There are the green grapes, which are again very healthy. There is the green cabbage too.
Lutein is found in green vegetables. Lutein is synthesised by plants. Lutein primarily keeps the eyes safe from oxidative stress. Today we live in a world of technology that we cannot take our eyes off! So we just about need all the help with keeping our eyes healthy. This is an easy way! Just eat your way to health. There is so much stress on eating greens that people think of spinach as a dish. We can incorporate greens without centralising its presence. Like adding mint leaves to biryani or adding mustard leaves to rotis. There are various ways that we can add the greens without the tedium.
Orange: the cheery colour
Beta carotene oozes from orange coloured fruits and vegetables. It is good for the skin and eyes and is healthy all the way. The fibre and potassium contained in orange fruits and vegetables is so good for the body. There are many fruits and veggies to choose from with this colour, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, nectarines, and carrots. The sweet potato tops the list in richness of vitamin and is considered the vault of good health. Sweet potato is such a viable dish, it is fleshy and substantial in quantities that we need to put it on top of the food list. America makes any number of pies with sweet potato. Pumpkin too needs to be reinvented into our food more often.
White and pristine
Did we forget white? We just cannot, in garlic and leeks the colour stays to protect the heart. Allicin is a sulphur-containing compound, which prevents atherosclerosis and lowers cholesterol. Since white stands for cleanliness it is easy to remember that fruits and vegetables which are white are antibacterial in effect.
Cauliflower, white potato and chow-chow are really good to keep away the germs. They are also rich in vitamin-K, folate and vitamin–C and a good amount of fibre is contained in these vegetables.
Blue and true
There are few foods which are blue, I can think of blueberries only, which are not available in India easily. But these too contain oxidants, which are very good for health and skin rejuvenation. They say because there is so little food in that colour in the natural form, that blue is loved in candies. But water is symbolised by the blue colour, remember? It may not be a fruit or vegetable, but it is contained in both. Water is good for us and we need to drink enough to keep our skins moist, the blood, to carry though and circulate well, to cleanse our bodies of all the waste it needs to throw out.
So colour is interesting. Getting children to eat vegetables is easier when we concentrate on the colours of the vegetables and fruits.