Humans are by nature social creatures. So, there’s no doubt that upon quarantine mandates loosening up, friends and families will gather once again. Self-isolation has been tough, many important life events have been cancelled or postponed. Now that summer is in full swing, small gatherings in backyards around the BBQ become a heavenly oasis we perhaps once took for granted. Offering guests healthy food is now considered an act of love, we want to fill the bellies of our friends and families with nutrients they will need to maintain an optimal immune system.
“Add more Superfoods to your everyday”
That’s the constant message we’re receiving from nutritional scientists who study the health effects of foods. They’re telling us that all those naturally coloured plant foods are not only beautiful, they’re downright essential to living the healthy life.
The many pigments (colours) in plant foods are nothing short of little chemical factories producing hundreds of their own phyto (plant) nutrients – like polyphenols and flavonoids. They don’t really do it for us; they do it for themselves, to protect themselves against disease.
Turns out, what’s good for the plant is good for us, too! All those colours protect us from disease, as well. Which is very important with the global pandemic we have endured and could possibly see again. Now is the time to maintain optimal health, and consuming colourful foods is one sure-fire way to make sure we are getting important nutrients.
Break the colour-code
What’s in a food’s colour? Take those reds. The reds that colour strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and cherries are the same reds that give us the antioxidants that prevent cancers and diseases linked to aging.
What about the blues and purples? Well, they’re obviously the colours we get from blueberries, elderberries, grapes and blackberries. They contain resveratrol and anthocyanidins, the phytochemicals that help prevent heart disease and brain aging.
We all know about greens. The whole colour thing started with greens really. Greens are what got us all thinking about the colours of foods in the first place and how we need them to be healthy. Wheatgrass, barley grass and green algae are the concentrated green foods that led the way. Rich in chlorophyll, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, it’s especially the greens that cleanse and alkalize.
How about yellow?
Think lemons and pineapples. The puckering effect of lemons is from a family of phytochemicals called limonoids, while phenols are part of the phyto-power in pineapples. These compounds are anticancer, cholesterol-lowering, antiviral and anti-inflammatory agents.
Do the math
The wider the variety of colours we eat, the better our chances of being healthy. And what’s really exciting about adding more colour to our diets is the way it adds up. The effects are not merely mathematical (like adding 1+1+1 to equal 3). The benefits are exponential! Eating a wide variety of coloured foods together multiples the positive effects they have on our health.
Hopefully, summer entertaining activities are getting back to normal. If the opportunity arises, serve your guests a rainbow of colours by offering healthy options such as fruit and veggie trays and plant-based meals. Make sure BBQ toppings always include fresh purple cabbage, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, and pineapple!
And of course – support your local farmers and health food stores when purchasing produce and grocery items. They need your help, and we need their healthy options!