Vegetables are packed full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Thanks to the phytochemicals that give them their distinctive hues, different coloured vegies contain different mixes of these vitamins – which is why nutritionists advise that we should all ‘eat a rainbow’.
Here, we munch into different colours to see which vegetables do us good, and why.
The beautiful hue of purple vegetables is thanks to anthocyanin. This pigment has potent health benefits, including protection against ageing, heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Enjoy: Beetroot, eggplant, red cabbage, red onion, radicchio, purple sweet potato
The nutritious and delicious array of green vegies on offer are all bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that keep your immune system healthy and protect against heart disease and cancers. They are full of iron and folate, for red blood cell production. And you’ll find calcium and vitamin K in there, too, for healthy bones.
Enjoy: Broccoli, peas, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, beans, bok choy, cucumber, green capsicum, spinach, silverbeet, lettuce, avocado, asparagus, kale, celery, artichoke
Lycopene is the natural pigment that gives red vegetables their vibrant colour. It’s a powerful antioxidant that is great for heart health and protection against certain cancers. Full of vitamin C, potassium, carotenoids, lycopene, anthocyanins, quercetin and flavonoids, these red vegetables are also good for keeping your eyes, skin and immune system healthy.
Enjoy: Tomatoes, red capsicum, chilli, radish, red kidney bens
Orange vegetables are full of the carotenoid beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A for eye health. Rich in vitamin C, they are also a great immune-booster. Other nutritional components include potassium, flavonoids, liminoids and terpenes.
Enjoy: Carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, red lentils
Similar to their orange cousins, yellow vegies have high levels of carotenoids, vitamin A and vitamin C – which both play a role in keeping your eyes and immune system healthy; and may protect against cancer and heart disease. They also contain potassium, flavonoids, terpenes and quercetin.
Enjoy: Corn, baby corn, yellow squash, yellow capsicum, chickpeas, golden beetroo