Regardless of current eating trends in the world, humans are still omnivores. This means that we have to eat all sorts of foods to be happy and healthy. Today, most trendy diets would have you believe that this is false. They all recommend eating only one type of food or leaving out another type completely. Cut out sugar here, eat only carbs there. Though fads like this have results, you have to realize that those are only temporary results. For optimal health and reaching various fitness goals, you’ll need to eat all sorts of things.
Food pyramids exist for a reason. They are the diagram of what your body needs to stay healthy and happy. Eating the rainbow may seem like a hard thing to do, especially if you’re a picky eater, but it’s absolutely necessary if you aim to improve your life. Nutrition is like a huge puzzle with a million pieces. To get the full picture, you have to use them all.
Good old greens. Your parents always told you that you need to eat your vegetables, and they were always right. Spinach, broccoli, peas, limes, lettuce, celery – there is just so much here it’s practically impossible to list it all out in an article like this. You can experiment with these veggies and fruits all day long, it’s the nutritional equivalent of shooting monkey in a barrel.
So, for example, veggies like broccoli or Brussels sprouts (i.e. cruciferous veggies), contain phytonutrients which can prevent the growth of tumours, and the occurrence of carcinogens. They are also chock full of fibre, and folic acid. Then we have good old peas. These veggies have a surprising amount of protein in them and are relatively low in calories.
2. Orange and yellow
Now, we get to some sunny colours. You got carrots, mangoes, pumpkins on the orange front, and lemons, pineapples, and corn on the other. IN general, you will notice that most citrus fruit can be found in these shades and tones. So we’re talking about lots and lots of vitamin C. Carrots, for example, contain vitamin A, which strengthens your vision and your immune system. It’s also great for you’re the health of your skin and your bones.
Mangoes are very high in fibre, helping your digestive system out, as well as having some iron, calcium, and zinc. They also have lots of vitamin E, which improves your eyesight, and decrease the chance of getting cancer.
Finally, a great aspect is that every single one of these is delicious, and yet, it’s very low in calories. So, you get healthy snacks and desserts that don’t cause you to gain weight, they can actually help you lose some.
3. Purple and blue
Blue, indigo, violet, purple – all of these shades come in both a nice, tangy fruit variety (various berries) and some savoury, delicious eggplants. So, blackberries are full in vitamin C and vitamin K, and can help reduce cholesterol. People who are deficient in vitamin K will love blackberries, since vitamin K deficiencies cause easier bruising, as well as blood in your urine or stool. Eggplants are great for anaemic, due to the high iron and copper content they have. These can reduce the feelings of exhaustion that many anaemics feel from time to time.
Dark grapes are sweet and tangy, and are chock full of antioxidants. However, they also have the interesting effect of reducing your blood sugar levels, as well as protecting you from diabetes. They are very low on the glycaemic index scale, and possess resveratrol (which helps with blood sugar levels). There are also some stats sating that resveratrol can protect you against Alzheimer’s disease.
Red meat is an excellent source of protein aka something we all need. Our muscles need fuel, and they get it from protein most of the time. Though there is protein in plants, too, red meat is by far the richest source. Active individuals need more protein in their diet if they want to keep their body optimally healthy and moving. You won’t be able to keep up with your busy routine if you don’t fuel your body well.As well as that, protein is essential for athletes. If you’re trying to lose weight and gain muscle, you won’t get far without a muscle gain meal plan. Your muscles use protein as fuel for growth. Working out will help you burn calories, but without additional protein in your diet, it won’t contribute to muscle gain. What’s more, without enough protein, you won’t be able to work out for long, either.
And of course, we have cherries, tomatoes, strawberries. All of these gain their colour from a pigment called lycopene. Now, lycopene is useful because it’s a very strong antioxidant that keeps our hearts healthy, and that reduces the risk of cancer.
Let’s start with some of our favourites – mushrooms. Now, mushrooms can show up in different shapes and sizes, but they are quite often brown. They are also quite often delicious with butter and garlic, and are chock full of nutritional goodness. They have selenium, potassium, copper, and even vitamin D. These, respectfully, improve and regulate your immune system, blood pressure, your nerves and iron absorption, as well as your general mood.
However, let’s not forget about carbs. Carbs are not the enemy, despite what you may have been lead to believe. You need to have everything in moderation. Namely, besides being delicious, a nice bowl of paste will give you a huge energy boost if you consider one thing – they type of carb you’re eating. You always want to go with complex carbs, never simple ones. Without going into too much detail, simple carbs are digested directly in your stomach, while complex carbs take longer to break down. This means you will get a strong boost of energy from simple ones, but also a very serious crash later on.
So, always opt with complex carbs, like pasta made from whole wheat, yams, brown rice, oatmeal… These are digested slowly throughout the day, giving you smaller bursts of energy. Furthermore, they contain extra fibre and nutrients when compared to simple carbs.
When you think of nutrition as a rainbow, it becomes much easier to see what you have to eat to achieve certain results. Eating the whole rainbow guarantees all of these effects together. It may be hard to incorporate all of the different aspects of nutrition to your diet, but with a little effort, nothing is impossible. Each colour represents a part of your health, and the complete spectre is you at your healthiest.