Colour your world
Many varieties of fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals (natural chemicals) that have valuable antioxidant properties. It is these phytochemicals that give fruit and vegetables their wonderful bright colours. You’ve probably heard that eating a variety of different coloured fruits and veges is best for you. It’s true. The rich and assorted colours in many fruit and vegetables contain different beneficial nutrients, such as:
- ‘Red’ fruit and vegetables contain lycopene
- ‘Orange’ fruit and vegetables contain beta-carotene
- ‘Blue/purple’ fruit and vegetables contain anthocyanins
- ‘Green’ vegetables contain flavonoids
Choose a variety of different colours of fruit and vegetables to maximize taste, texture, visual appeal and antioxidant intake.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are used by your body to protect itself from the damage caused by free radicals (“baddies” that attack our cells). The most common antioxidants in fruit and vegetables are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, carotenoids (like lycopene and beta-carotene) and flavonoids.
Fruit and vegetable recommendations
The New Zealand Ministry of Health Guidelines recommend eating at least five servings of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day, with at least three of the five coming from vegetables and at least two from fruit.
While the guideline is to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, remember that this recommendation is based on the minimum amount believed necessary for good health. Most dietitians and health professionals recommend more than this.