Detox Superfoods always have vibrant colors, which are not only tempting for our senses but also beneficial for our bodies. The rich colours of fruits and vegetables often suggest their health benefits.
Why are the colours of the plants important for our bodies?
Did you know that the pigment molecules in plant foods are a source of antioxidants?
These pigment phytochemicals occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those of essential nutrients. The colour of a plant, such as the blueberry blue, can indicate some of these phytochemicals. They work synergistically with the other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and fibre) in fruits and vegetables to support good health. So pigment phytochemicals show the antioxidant content of the plant. Antioxidants, in turn, help our body fight free radicals.
An interesting fact is that the colourful antioxidants that are synthesized in plants can protect them from various factors, such as insects, etc. That is the so-called bio-chemical protection of plants.
How does the rainbow of antioxidants help us?
Including a rainbow of coloured foods in a diet plan ensures a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals. Each group of antioxidants, based on colour, has a different health benefit. For example, the green ones help liver function and detoxification; the orange ones are beneficial for vision health. In an overview, antioxidants support your good health, good look, good mood.
Let’s group plant antioxidants by colour: green; yellow; orange; red; purple, white.
Green: antioxidants for detox, liver support and flexible joints
About the plant: Essential for plant photosynthesis
Found in: all leafy greens: lettuce, spinach, dock, green onions, green garlic, levurda, rukola; broccoli, kiwi
Benefits: Chlorophyll equals “plant blood”. Apart from being essential for plant photosynthesis, chlorophyll is very similar in structure to hemoglobin. It has shown to act as a physiological stimulant of red blood cells.
Moreover, it is the substance that captures sunlight and transforms it – therefore, it charges our cells with the sun. Chlorophyll is a powerful antioxidant, well-thought-of its purifying properties. It also takes care of bones and muscle health. This green pigment is used as an alkalizer for the body’s nutrients.
Chlorophyll is also known for supporting the cleaning detox process and normal function of the liver. It is believed that green foods rich in chlorophyll can bind to heavy metals and remove them from the body.
Most studies in this direction were done for chlorella – an alga named after the high content of chlorophyll.
Interesting: Most of the green foods have the reputation of being a rich source of iron – these are mainly nettle and spinach. Unfortunately, the truth is that this element is in a very complex long and stable chain and cannot be digested in the stomach.
Additional benefits: Apart from chlorophyll, green leafy vegetables are extremely valuable as a source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes.
Tip: Green foods are great not only for salads but also as fresh fruit and smoothies. Combine green foods with kiwi and a little honey for a great green energy deep-cleansing glass that will charge you with sunshine.
Yellow detox antioxidants – for elastic skin
Antioxidant: Lutein, Zeaxanthin
Important: For retinal health and skin elasticity
Found in: zucchini, yellow peppers, corn, pineapple, etc.
Benefits: The substances contained in yellow fruits and vegetables help digestion and stimulate the immune system.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are crucial substances for retinal health. They enhance detailed vision and prevent blindness. Furthermore, the antioxidant properties of yellow foods take care of healthy and elastic skin.
Additional benefits: Yellow foods also support normal brain function.
Tip: Add sunny yellow fruits to your diet and enjoy beautiful skin and a clear vision.
Orange detox antioxidants – for sparkling eyes
Important: Non-toxic precursor of vitamin A.
Found in: zucchini, squash, papaya, apricots, peaches, oranges, carrots, melons, sweet potatoes, prunes, etc.
Benefits: Beta-carotene is a key substance that increases skin health, the sharpness of the eyes and night vision. We cannot ignore the qualities of orange foods as strong immunostimulants. They help reduce inflammation in the body and quickly fight flu and colds.
An interesting fact is that orange antioxidants support the summer golden complexion. While nourishing the skin from the inside, beta-carotene protects it from harmful UV rays and contributes to even pigmentation.
Interesting: Cooked carrots increase the digestibility of beta-carotene.
Additional benefits: Orange fruits and vegetables support kidney health and female reproductive function.
Tip: Keep in mind that alcohol, cigarettes, contraceptives block the absorption of beta-carotene.
Red antioxidants – for a happy heart
About the plant: Protects plants from the toxic effects of oxygen and light
Found in: tomatoes, red beets, pomegranate, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, pink grapefruit, watermelon, red cabbage, red onions, red peppers, etc.
Benefits: Lycopene is one of the powerful antioxidants. It is still a matter of scientific evidence that it can prevent DNA damage and the so-called age spots.
The lycopene molecule has such a structure that it binds to a free oxygen atom and/or peroxyl radicals and thus neutralizes them. These free radicals left in the body could damage cellular DNA. The lycopene molecule has about 100 times stronger antioxidant activity than vitamin E (one of the proven natural antioxidants) and is great for detox.
Interesting: In contradiction with the accepted belief, during heat treatment, nutrients in fruits and vegetables (eg. vitamin C) are not lost. Cooking tomatoes increases the bioactivity of lycopene. Tomato paste, for example, is better than fresh tomatoes.
Additional benefits: In recent years, the claim that tomato extract affects blood clotting and blood density, which can reduce the risk of heart attack, has also been scientifically proven.
Tip: The more intense red the colour of the fruit/vegetable is, the higher lycopene content is in it.
Purple/Blue antioxidants – for healthy nerves and eternal youth and beauty
About the plant: Protects plants from the harmful effects of UV rays
Found in: blackberries, eggplant, red grapes, prunes, red and black currants, purple cabbage, figs, mulberries, etc.
Benefits: Flavonoids are a group of antioxidants that have become famous for their contribution to young and beautiful skin. It is crucial to know that they help normal blood cholesterol levels and the elasticity of blood vessels.
They support the blood flow to the eyes and the nervous system, thus taking care of their health. They improve good memory. The fact that they can slow down aging is just another wonderful “side effect” of the complex benefits.
Additional benefits: Studies have been done on the contribution of the anthocyanin “cyanidin-3-0-glucoside” as well as black elderberry extract. They show that the substances maintain high levels of vitamin E in the body. Also, they are the vitamin-antioxidant of the heart and the vitamin of beauty and youth.
Tip: Add seasonal purple/blue fruits and vegetables to your menu – in addition to the above benefits, they will also help your digestion.
WHITE detox antioxidants – for the immune system
Important: Strong immunostimulants with antibacterial properties
Found in: garlic, onion, turnip, cauliflower, alabaster, potatoes, etc.
Benefits: White foods do not attract our attention with bright colour, but we should not underestimate them. They are rich in phytochemicals, some of which are absent in their coloured relatives.
One of the valued chemicals is allicin. It plays a significant role in lowering blood pressure. Very strong immunostimulants, white foods also have pronounced antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory and detox action. They take care of the health of the heart, supply us with minerals and vitamins.
Other benefits: White foods have an additional benefit on intestinal health by preventing the formation of polyps on the walls of the colon. They also take care of our lymphatic system.
Tip: Do not neglect white foods. It is not a coincidence that they are available in winter – they support our immunity and fight bacteria, viruses and inflammation.
Make your daily diet full of colour, take the benefits of the antioxidants. Achieve balance through diversity.