Adding Colour to Your Diet

~ September 2011 No.242 ~

Cooking schools teach that not only must food taste good, it must look good. You get extra marks for “good presentation”. This also applies to eating healthy. Your diet should be full of tasty foods and foods that look good. In this case, the more colourful, the better.

Fruits & Vegetables Sign

As we strive to add more fruits and vegetables to our diet, we should be trying to eat colourful foods. In many cases it is the compound giving the fruit or vegetable its colour that is the health promoting or active ingredient, e.g. the red in tomatoes comes from lycopene, the purple in grapes and blueberries comes from anthocyanins.

Eating more fruits and vegetables has been recommended as a way of protecting against cancer and heart disease. But adding more colour to your diet can also protect against birth defects (sources of folate), and maintain healthy eyes (sources of ß- carotene, lutein). Generally, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are low in fat, high in fibre and are majour sources of vitamins.

In Canada, it is recommended that our daily diet should include 6 servings (for children), 8 servings (for teens), and 8-10 servings (for adults) of vegetables. The more colourful the better!


Active Ingredients in Fruit and Vegetables
FoodColourPossible Active Ingredient
Strawberriesredanthocyanins, ellagic acid
Peachesyellowepicatechin, phenolic acids
Broccoligreenpolyphenols, indoles
Red onionsredquercatin
Sweet potatoorangeß-carotene
Green teagreenpolyphenols
Plumspurpleepicatechin, phenolic acids


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Last modified

September 08 2016