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The colours of fruits and vegetables indicate the nutrients they contain

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The colours of fruits and vegetables indicate the nutrients they contain

colours and nutrientsPhoto: Shutterstock

Most nutritionists recommend a “colourful” diet, in order to encourage the intake of a variety of nutrients. As such, the next time you go grocery shopping for super-foods, take into consideration the different colours of fruits and vegetables because they may very well be a clue to the nutrients on offer.


Red
Finding this bold colour in fruits and vegetables is an indication of a pigment known as lycopene, which is believed to be a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the risk of cancer and protect against heart attacks.

Cherries, red cabbage, strawberries, cranberries and red grapes contain another reported antioxidant, anthocyanin. This particular pigment is also associated with health effects like improved circulation, reduced inflammation and a boost to the immune system.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and the flavonol quercetin might just be the reason why. Red apples are an excellent source of this potential antioxidant, which supposedly helps destroy excessive free radicals in the body.

Yellow and Orange
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, pigments responsible for their sunny appearance. Carotenoids help in boosting the immune system and lowers risks of heart diseases, vision problems and cancer.

A notable carotenoid is beta-carotene, which our bodies then convert into vitamin A, an organic compound well known for keeping our skin healthy, boosting our immune function and reducing the risk of eye diseases. Good sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins.  

Folate, potassium, bromium and vitamin C are also often found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.

Green
Fruits and vegetables of the green variety are rich in Vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants.

Dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach are all rich in calcium as well, which is a vital nutrient for bone development and maintenance. Additionally, dietary fiber, which is vital for us to maintain a healthy digestive tract, can be found in broccoli, spinach, cucumbers and kiwi.