The rainbow diet

Posted on August 8, 2013


iStock_000017664170XSmall1We’re all so bombarded these days with news and views re what to eat, when and why. Everyone wants a quick fix and common sense is all too often replaced with unsustainable regimes and nonsense fads.

So when my mum sent me this cool little infogram on phytonutrients the other day, I absorbed it like a sponge.

In a nutshell, phytonutrients are plant compounds found in fresh fruits and veggies. They have a hugely positive effect on our bodies thanks to their antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Our diets today, however, have become increasingly deficient in these amazing compounds.

There’s literally a rainbow of opportunity to rectify this. The five colour categories to consider are red, blue / purple, yellow / orange, white and green. The trick is to eat a diverse selection from all colour categories to maximise the synergistic benefits of each.

The stats shown are based on Americans but it would be safe to say that similar patterns would be seen in the Western world full stop. The worst deficit is in the white category where 83% of the population are deficient. The others fall closely behind.


  • 69% aren’t consuming enough green foods
  • Green foods include tea, honeydew, kiwi, limes, kale, collards and spinach
  • Beneficial for eye health, cancer prevention, wound healing and gum health


  • 74% fall short on red foods
  • Red foods include red peppers, tomatoes, pomegranates, watermelon and cherries
  • Naturally red foods may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease


  • 83% of the adult population aren’t getting enough
  • Not all white foods are straight from the devil – good choices include garlic, onions, mushrooms and cauliflower
  • May reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer


  • 76% are lacking here
  • Purple and blue foods include berries, grapes and eggplant
  • Associated with heart health and a reduced risk of cancer


  • 80% of the population aren’t getting enough yellow and orange foods
  • Examples include yellow or orange peppers, carrots, squash, lemons, oranges, cantaloupe and mango
  •  Associated with eye, skin and cardiovascular health

Check it out below and ask yourself where you fall short. There are so many options within each category that not liking something ain’t an excuse. Forget the scientific blah blah and just think about eating all your colours … and then the rewards to your body, inside and out, will be all yours for the taking!

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