Colour code your diet: Why you need a rainbow on your plate to ward off health and beauty problems

Want to eat your way to a better body? Add some colour to your plate to ward off health and beauty problems – from heart disease to wrinkles.

“Eating a wide variety of different coloured foods is a great way to ensure you have glowing skin, a slimmer shape and it even helps your body fight disease,” says nutritionist Linda Foster.

Here, she explains how to put a rainbow on your plate…

Choose from: Blackberries, blueberries, figs, plums, raisins, aubergine, red cabbage – even wine!
What they contain: High levels of health-boosting phytochemicals known as anthocyanins and resveratrol.
Why you should eat more: Anthocyanins can protect against liver disease, reduce blood pressure and fight ageing, while resveratrol may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and improve memory. Blueberries can aid weight loss.
Try: Enjoying a small glass of red wine or adding berries to smoothies and your breakfast cereal.

Choose from: Oranges, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, peaches, mangoes, peppers and pumpkin.
What they contain: These are packed with the antioxidant betacarotene, and many contain another beneficial compound called beta-cryptoxanthin.
Why you should eat more: Betacarotene protects your eyesight, helps your skin and can lower the risk of getting cancer. Beta-cryptoxanthin can help maintain the respiratory tract and ease inflammation caused by arthritis.
Try: Swapping your Sunday roast spuds for sweet potatoes, and steaming your carrots to unlock those nutrients.

Choose from: Tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and cherries.
What they contain: A powerful antioxidant called lycopene and anthocyanins. Also vitamins A and C.
Why you should eat more: Lycopene can protect your skin from sun damage and cuts your risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Some studies show it eases asthma.
Try: Sipping a virgin Bloody Mary, made with tomato juice.

Choose from: Bananas, lemons, sweetcorn, pineapple, grapefruit and peppers.
What they contain: Carotenoids.
Why you should eat more: Carotenoids may cut your risk of developing certain cancers, as well as giving you a healthy glow. They cut your heart disease risk and boost your immune system, too.
Try: Topping your cereal with banana or adding yellow peppers to salads.

Choose from: Spinach, lettuce, watercress, cucumber, broccoli, sprouts, green beans, peas, apples, grapes and kiwi fruit.
What they contain: Carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals such as indoles and glucosinolates and nutrients such as betacarotene, vitamin K, iron, potassium and calcium.
Why you should eat more: Lutein and zeaxanthin can filter out harmful light that damages the eyes. A daily serving of any green veg can slash your chances of having a heart attack, too.
Try: Add watercress to sandwiches.

Choose from: Potatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms and cauliflower.
What they contain: Antioxidants including beta-glucans. Allicin, an antibiotic and antifungal compound, is also found in garlic, leeks and onions. Potatoes are packed with vitamin C.
Why you should eat more: Allicin fights cell damage that can lead to serious disease. Beta-glucans boost numbers of infection-busting white blood cells.
Try: Tucking in to some in-season potatoes or adding a crushed garlic clove to soups, stews and stir-fries.By Caroline Jones


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