The colours of fruit and vegetables denote the nutrients they contain and their disease fighting components.
Each colour carries its own set of unique phytochemicals which give fruit and vegetables their vibrant colour and disease fighting properties.
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that supports heart health and can help reduce the risk of cancer.
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid, betacarotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes.
Another carotenoid, lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.
Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.
The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
White and brown fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic), which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.
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