If you follow me regularly, you’ll know that I’m big on nutrition and diet.
Good nutrition and meal planning are some of the biggest carryovers from my days as a professional athlete.
They’ve become an integral part of my everyday routine.
Call me boring but it works! I’m still in fairly good shape late into my forties and aim to keep it that way.
I’ve covered some basic nutrition principles to help those who don’t cook often or prepare their own meals regularly.
In today’s article, I’ll share how and why it’s beneficial to add color to your diet.
If you’re into strength and fitness like I do, then you’ll know how a plate of brown rice and pale chicken breast can dull the senses.
Whether it’s to make your plate look more aesthetically appetizing or just pure coincidence, some of you might already be incorporating color into your diet.
While that’s great, understanding what certain food colors mean and how they can support your health can help you get even more value out of a colorful diet.
Besides the meat, seafood and poultry on the color spectrum that you’re already consuming, you can integrate other colorful foods like fruits and vegetables for a balanced diet.
Why are colorful foods important?
Colorful foods are known for their micronutrient content. They are plentiful in phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect us against diseases and sickness.
The Color Wheel
Each color contains different nutrients, so a colorful diet can help to improve your health and overall well-being.
Red foods are a rich source of powerful antioxidants that lowers the risk of developing hypertension or high cholesterol.
Some good red foods:
For instance, tomatoes contain lycopene, which protects against cancers of the prostate and heart disease.
Good red vegetables include radishes that can cleanse your liver and stomach. They are also high on fiber and can aid digestion.
If you’re looking to lose weight, then you’re in luck. Beets are a great low-calorie red food source. They’re also packed with potassium, iron and vitamin c which can help regulate blood pressure.
Raspberries contain anthocyanins, which lower the risk of diabetes and fight inflammation. Also, it’s great for making smoothies and shakes!
Green-colored foods get their hue from chlorophyll in the leaves of plants. Plants have compounds called phytochemicals that help to fight disease.
Some good green foods:
Asparagus contains asparagine, which acts as a natural diuretic that can help your body expel excess salt and fluid. Particularly useful if you have high blood pressure or need to make weight for a fight, ahem.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat which is good for the heart. It goes great with toast or chips and has other minerals like vitamin K, folate and lutein. A high-calorie but healthy ingredient, avocado is very common in bodybuilding diets.
I blend an assortment of vegetables to start my day off with a nice green drink. Kale is one ingredient I never leave out.
One of the most nutrient-dense foods around, Kale has folic acid, iron and calcium that can lower the risk of cancer.
Blue-colored or to a larger extent purple-colored foods belong in the same category. Their anthocyanins lower the risk of stroke, cancer and heart disease.
Blue and purple color foods to eat:
Blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin K, which helps preserve bone health. They are excellent when combined with oatmeal, cereal or yoghurt.
Eggplants are rich in flavonoids like chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, which may help fight cancer and protect cells. Eggplant parmesan is classic comfort food.
If they’re in season, you should grab some plums. They provide vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene and potassium, which can help against high cholesterol and cancers.
The antioxidant beta-carotene is responsible for the orange hue in foods. It’s vital for healthy skin, hair, and vision.
Orange foods to try:
Apricots have good potassium and fiber values. Dried apricots make for an excellent snack and pair well with trail mix.
Eating carrots can help maintain good eyesight and give you vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. Carrots are sweet, aromatic, and extremely versatile. You can juice them, use them in salads, and even bake them.
Sweet potatoes are a staple of bodybuilding diets. They provide a good number of calories and lots of vitamin A and C. There are plenty of ways to cook sweet potatoes; steam, sauté, grill, or boil them.
White foods contain allicin, a phytochemical plant compound that helps with high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Some common white foods:
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which helps cleanse your liver and body of waste products and maintain a healthy nervous system. Plus they are great to eat on their own!
Garlic has antibacterial properties, and they contain few calories. A wonderful seasoning to just about any dish, it’s easy to increase your garlic consumption.