Phytonutrients: How Colourful is Your Dinner?
Is your supper 50 shades of beige? Is it all green, like a rabbit's feast? Neither one of these options is ideal, when prepping your meals you want to incorporate a rainbow if ingredients! This is because non-processed, naturally grown foods get their colour from phytonutrients, which are naturally occurring sources of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. To maximize your intake of these beneficial compounds, which will contribute to your overall health, try eating a rainbow for dinner (obviously we don't mean this literally, you'd have to be one lucky duck to find a rainbow everyday, sheesh!). What we mean is a plant-based diet in a variety of colours. Skittles & rainbow sherbet don't count, pal.
Don't be a bully, be inclusive: If your favourite colour is red it doesn't mean you can eat only bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, & watermelon. Phytonutrients work best, and the most benefits can be reaped, when they are eaten in combination with different phytonutrients. To get a complete intake of these colourful compounds, try to include at least 3 different colours of whole foods on your plate.
Bitterness, baby: In addition to a ROYGBIV based diet, the more bitter a whole food is, the more likely it is phytonutrient-packed. Many of the most favourable phytonutrients give a biter or sour taste to the food they're in. Western culture tends to prefer sweeter flavours, so try challenging your palette to more bitter flavours, like kale (or arugula: it's more fun to say out loud). You can balance it out with a sweet flavour like a delicious fruit vinaigrette.
Fruit, veggies, & grains, oh my: Having a diet that consists mainly of natural, grown-from-the-earth food is your first step to getting your intake of phytonutrients. But don't forget that this includes nuts, whole grains, and beans in addition to fruit and veg. So next time you're enjoying pancakes on a Sunday morning, make your flapjacks with whole grain flour dotted with richly hued blueberries, and have a green smoothie (made with kale & nut butter) on the side.