Why Carrot is so orange and Blueberries are so blue?
Meanings and Benefits of colors in different fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables come in different colors; green, red, orange, yellow, blue, etc.. which together in plate make a rainbow, and each of these colors are a result of different pigments, and each one of which offers different health benefits. So a plate full of colorful fruits and vegetables gives you plenty of health benefits. Here is presenting some of them.
The different fruit colors are a result of It is generally considered, that the darker the color, the greater the health benefit the product offers. Thus; dark green romaine lettuce will have more nutrition than light green iceberg lettuce, red or sweet potatoes have more health benefits than white potatoes.
As mentioned above, the reason for the colors in fruits and vegetables is the compounds called phytochemicals. These substances only occur in nature in plants and they provide us with uncountable health benefits. It has also been proved that phytochemicals provide the color to various fruits and vegetables while interacting with vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutrients to provide the human body with several benefits. Some of these phytochemicals are believed to protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer. Even a single colored fruit will still contain multiple phytochemicals along with vitamins and minerals to provide us with several disease-reducing benefits.
What do different colors of fruits and vegetables mean?
Blue/Purple– This color is due to the fruit’s or vegetable’s anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that, depending on their pH, may appear red, purple, blue, or black. In alkaline conditions, it appears in blue/purple or black color. The darker the blue color, the higher the concentration of phytochemicals in it.
Anthocyanins are antioxidants that provide numerous health benefits. They also protect against UV skin damage by inactivating highly reactive molecules such as free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formed during sun exposure that start a chain reaction producing significant cell and tissue damage. Recent research also suggests that anthocyanins may help fend off major health problems, including heart disease and cancer.
Blueberries are especially known for their very high antioxidant levels. Other fruits and vegetables containing Anthocyanins include pomegranates, blackberries, plums, prunes, red cabbage, etc. Apart from that Beetroot’s deep purple color comes from plant chemicals called betanins. Like anthocyanins, betanins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Green– Green leafy vegetables are rich in chlorophyll as well as isothiocyanates. Chlorophyll can be found in each and every green plant part. Isothiocyanate is the chemical group –N=C=S, formed by substituting the oxygen in the isocyanate group with sulfur.
The potential benefits of chlorophyll include improving health, boosting energy, and fighting illnesses. When considered isothiocyanate, it neutralizes toxins especially in the liver, and can potentially contribute to the prevention of cancer. Apart from these antioxidants, the green cruciferous vegetables are rich in Vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, etc. which help to keep the body functions well.
Broccoli, watercress, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Japanese radish, cauliflower, and every leafy vegetable rich in the above compounds. Some people get used to taking artificially made chlorophyll as a supplement but it may cause side effects like diarrhea or nausea. Chlorophyll is available in all green plants. You don’t need to take supplements to add chlorophyll to your diet.
Green/Yellow– These vegetables and fruits are rich in lutein which is a carotenoid with reported anti-inflammatory properties. A large body of evidence shows that lutein has several beneficial effects, especially on eye health. In particular, lutein is known to improve or even prevent age-related macular disease which is the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment. It is especially necessary for elderly people to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, oranges, zucchini, and squash are some fruits and vegetables rich in lutein.
Some of these green-yellow fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid which is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues.
Red– The main pigment that gives the red color to fruits and vegetables is Lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits, including sun protection, improved heart health, and a lower risk of certain types of cancer. Though it can be found as a supplement, it may be most effective when consumed from lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes and other red or pink fruits. Grapes, cranberries, tomatoes, watermelons, guava, pink grapefruit can be taken as examples. Red fruits and vegetables are also rich in flavonoids, resveratrol, and vitamin C as well as folates specially beetroots.
Orange– Carotenoids or beta carotene is responsible for imparting the yellow-orange-red pigment color to certain fruits and vegetables. These are extremely rich in vitamin A and retinol-which is needed for acne and wrinkle prevention. Vitamin A is needed for strong immune function and healthy vision. Research is showing that certain beta carotenes are also useful in preventing diseases of the stomach, esophagus, etc. Examples: Mangoes, apricots, carrots, pumpkins, squashes, etc.
Colorful Diet – Colorful Life
Most of the compounds that are mentioned above are now available as supplements and people get used to taking them. But it is more effective and safe if you can add colorful fruits and vegetables which are rich in those compounds to your diet. Experts also recommend that our diet should consist of rainbow-colored fruits and vegetables to get all their health benefits. So, the next time before you get the meal, check whether it is colorful enough to make your life colorful.