Not all fruit and vegetables are created equal in terms of preventing disease. Research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that colourful fruit and vegetables are better than others at preventing cancer, heart disease and other ailments.
Use colour when choosing the five to 10 fruit and vegetables per day. You should still include the colour white in this selection as foods such as garlic, cauliflower and white pears offer protective nutrients.
Here is a guide to help you choose ‘powerhouse’ fruit and veggies to get the most disease-fighting benefits.
Red: Lycopene makes tomatoes and other foods red and is thought to lower your risk of disease and protect the body against the harmful affects of free radicals, which may cause cancer. Choose: tomatoes, red peppers, beets and strawberries.
Green: Chlorphyll gives a strong green colour and research suggests that it becomes a cancer-fighting agent when broken down in the digestive track. Choose: dark green lettuces, kiwi fruit, spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts.
Yellow: Lutein’s powerful yellow colour helps prevent age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that is one of the leading causes of blindness in older people. Choose: corn, papaya, yellow peppers and squash.
Orange: Beta-carotene is the orange pigment that acts as a potent protector against cancer. Choose: winter squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots and peaches.
Blue and Purple: Anthocyanins, responsible for the deep purple colour in many of our fruit and vegetables, are powerful antioxidants which neutralize several common carcinogens, help protect eyesight, dilate blood vessels and may help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Choose: blueberries, eggplant and purple grapes.