An important tool for taking your health up a notch!
A term that frequently flies around in functional medicine circles is to ‘eat a rainbow’. Where previously we have always been told to simply eat more fruit and vegetables the key seems to be in the colourful variety.
There are a number of reasons why this is the case:
- Simply eating more fruit and veg without focusing colour often leads to becoming stuck in a rut and eating the same, limited foods in rotation.
- The colour of a plant based food represents different phytonutrients that all impart varied health benefits.
- Our bacteria all feed on different foods so the best way to ensure a healthy and balanced gut flora is to feed them a diverse amount of their favourite foods.
“Starting with colour is the first basic step to make when developing a healthy way of eating for everyone. It is foundational to all food plans within functional medicine, as plants are good medicine for chronic disease prevention and treatment.” Institute for Functional Medicine
It has been estimated that around 80% of people are missing out on at least one colour in their diets! That’s most of us. Focusing on including all colours every day can have a profound effect on our health. It is the habit that is our number one recommendation for all people to follow.
And that is why we have created our rainbow fruit and vegetable chart to make it easy for you to track your daily intake and take your health to the next level. Download it here for free and we suggest printing it out and sticking it on your fridge as a handy resource.
Typical diets often consist of the same foods eaten in rotation. Often entire meals are eaten without a colourful fruit or veg in sight – think eggs on toast, cereal or pancakes. But couple any of those with a smoothie (containing for example blueberries, raspberries and spinach) and you’ve ticked off a few colours in one meal.
There are literally thousands of phytonutrients in nature and repetitive diets miss out on the important functions these nutrients provide. Our free guide helps ensure you are getting a good balance. As a general rule of thumb always opt for the more colourful, darker option such as red cabbage, red onions, red grapes. An example of a great substitution is swapping mashed potatoes with mashed purple or sweet potatoes.
- Eat at least one portion of fruit or veg from each colour every day
- Aim to try at least one new plant food every week to increase diversity
- Substitute foods for their more nutritious counterparts eg red cabbage over white, sweet potatoes instead of normal potatoes
- Include 3-4 portions of plant foods with each meal
- Nutrients are often concentrated in the skin so leave the peel on apples and carrots and add citrus zest to meals where possible
- Cook soups, curries, stews, stir-frys using a variety of veg
- Have fresh or frozen fruits for dessert
- Herbs and spices count too and are often nutrient dense so use them liberally
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Note: a typical portion is roughly half a cup of cooked vegetables, one cup of raw leafy veg or a medium sized piece of fruit.
Don’t forget to download your free rainbow fruit and veg guide that includes a handy chart and weekly tracker to ensure you are eating a rainbow every day.