It is important to colour code your food

A good eating plan is to place a rainbow on your plate. Incorporate foods of different colours in your food. Think red, orange, yellow, brown, blue, purple, white and green! Remember, different coloured fruits and vegetables offer you different nutrients. All foods are not the same. So, make the best of what nature has to offer.

If there is one thing I practice conscientiously, it is adding a lot of different foods to my plate. The food that I put on my table is like a colour palette, with different hues. Experts advise that for good health, the selection of foods is absolutely fundamental together with the combinations of ingredients that go into a meal. For example, both spinach and oranges are wonderful separately, they are packed with minerals and vitamins and have fantastic antioxidant properties, but if they are eaten together their benefits are heightened. Food can make you look younger and improve your physical health.

Colour coding your food is important because the food then packs a punch. I follow a simple principle and serve something from every colour group, at every meal. This ensures that what I put on the table is not just tasty food, but it is wholesome as well, packed with a variety of nutrients. Doing so delays signs of ageing both external and internal.

Food colour codes

Foods can be categorized into five groups of colour -

  • Yellow, red and orange coloured foods
  • Blue, purple and deep red foods
  • Green coloured foods
  • Brown foods
  • White and cream coloured foods

Yellow, red and orange foods

Vegetables and fruits in these colours have potent antioxidant properties. They are naturally high in carotenes (such as beta carotene which is like a precursor of vitamin A), vitamin C and other nutrients like flavonoids, potassium, zeaxanthin and lycopene.

These nutrients have multiple benefits –

  • When included in the diet they enable the body to defend itself against the harmful effects of the sun, fight indoor and outdoor pollution, bring down stress levels, guard against the effects of chemicals and smoke
  • These foods induce the formation of collagen, and combat free radicals, thereby slowing down the visible signs of ageing
  • They also shield both cell and cell membranes within the body, and particularly that of the skin
  • Their anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the danger of cancer
  • They act as perfect aides to the nervous system, providing it support
  • Rich in vitamin C they help ward off colds and flu
  • There is evidence that they promote good eye health and cut down the possibility of macular degeneration
  • These fibre rich foods also reduce LDL, the bad cholesterol
  • They maintain and keep the joints health
  • The body's pH balance is kept in check by these foods

Orange, red and yellow coloured foods boost the antioxidants in the body
Orange, red and yellow fruits and vegetables that you should eat include –

  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Ginger
  • Papaya
  • Pumpkin
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranates
  • Mangoes
  • Red and yellow bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Lemons
  • Turmeric

Another interesting fact about these colours is that they stimulate the appetite and also the nervous system. All those red coloured inviting sign boards we are so familiar with have been created for a reason. Notice how McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC and Burger King and others have these colours in their logo. It's because the colours make you feel hungry. Adorn your table with yellow, orange and red accessories to encourage those seated at it, to eat well.

Blue, purple and deep red foods

Foods coloured blue, purple and deep red while being tasty, also provide extremely high levels of flavonoids and have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They produce other nutrients that promote good health. They are packed with vitamin C and various other elements such ellagic acid, lutein, resveratrol, quercetin, zeaxanthin and are also high in fibre.

There are multiple benefits of eating these foods –

  • They help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and improve heart health
  • The function of the circulatory system (veins & arteries) is improved
  • Given that they are natural antibiotics, they help with allergies and prevent inflammation
  • They are good for the gastrointestinal tract and improve gut health
  • They are anti-carcinogens and also prevent tumours
  • Additionally, they are good for the skin and delay signs of ageing

Food in this colour spectrum include –

  • Brinjal (aubergines)
  • Black grapes
  • Beetroots
  • Figs
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Plums
  • Purple cabbage
  • Purple carrots
  • Red wine

Foods of this colour possibly have the highest amount of flavonoids, which are known to have almost miraculous healing property. This is why they are so good for you.

Green veggies and fruits

The green group of foods include green leafy veggies and a whole bunch of other fruits and cruciferous vegetables. These are great foods, as they are not just rich in antioxidants, but also aid detoxification. Which means, they help eliminate toxins from the body, leaving it clean.

This is how green foods help –
  • They are a good source of phytochemicals such as sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and indoles which stimulate certain enzymes present in the liver whose job it is to flush out potentially harmful compounds
  • Besides, green veggies are rich in folic acid, potassium and vitamin K. A few also have healthy amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids
  • They are rich in potassium and help lower blood pressure naturally
  • A good source of sulphur (that string odour they emit when being cooked, is because of the presence of sulphur) green vegetables benefit the hair
  • Green vegetables and fruits delay the formation of wrinkles
  • Selenium present in these foods improves the immune system and metabolism
  • The presence of selenium makes the absorption of vitamin K more effective
  • These foods are great for weight watchers as they regulate blood sugar levels and prevent cravings for fatty and sugary foods

Green leafy and other green veggies are full of antioxidant
The choice of green foods include –
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Fenugreek
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Brocolli
  • Spring onions
  • Kiwi
  • Garlic

Herbs such as cilantro (green coriander), mint and basil also fall in this group of foods. They not only add aromatic flavours and enhance the appearance of the food, but also supply ample quantities of antioxidants. Use herbs fresh; once they lose their colour, there is a drop in their nutrition levels.

Brown foods that you must eat

Brown foods provide an abundance of fibre that is good for overall wellbeing. Fibre rich foods are filling and hence suppress hunger and cravings for high-energy sugary foods. Grains and seeds fall in this category of foods, as do nuts, beans and lentils. These foods are best consumed unrefined, as refining leeches all the healthy nutrients.

Benefits of brown foods are galore –
  • They are high fibre foods that satiate and keep blood sugar levels in check
  • Fibre aids with the digestion and regulates the bowel movement, keeping your body from becoming sluggish
  • These foods are slow to digest and supply a regular dose of energy
  • They balance the hormones in the body
  • Brown foods are a good source of vitamin E which is a skin friendly nutrient, it shields cells and cell membranes from damage
  • Other nutrients present in brown foods are – antioxidants, zinc, chromium, magnesium and B vitamins
  • Seeds and nuts particularly have healthy amounts of essential fatty acids and minerals like selenium, that are great antioxidant

Brown foods that must go on your plate –

  • Whole grain products (wheat, barley and millets etcetera
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Brown rice
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Brown mushrooms
  • Lentils
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds

Brown foods are rich in fibre, with low glycemic index or glycaemic index (GI) they keep you feeling full for longer. Fibre in combination with the phytoestrogens, which is also present in abundance, in many brown foods together protect against cancer and lower LDL cholesterol.
Health benefits of brown foods

White and cream coloured foods

Foods that are naturally white or cream or pale yellow in colour are loaded with protein. Protein is essentially a muscle building nutrient and absolutely essential. Most of the white foods come from animal sources.

White foods are rich in essential nutrients –

  • White foods are rich in calcium
  • They are also packed with other healthy nutrients including antioxidants whih makes them the perfect anti-ageing foods
  • These foods help build strong teeth and bones
  • The protein rich foods help maintain muscle mass, especially when we begin to age
  • Essential fatty acids and Omega-3 present in many white foods help maintain young looking, healthy skin and supple joints
  • They are also a rich source for vitamin A and many other nutrients that help increase the ability to remember and overall brain power
  • The foods are also known to prevent mood swings and thwart depression

Good sources of white foods are –
White foods are a good source of protein
  • Curd (yogurt)
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Soy milk
  • Turkey
  • Milk
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Tofu
  • Paneer
  • Cheeses

Although processed foods like maida, also fall in the category of white foods, these should be avoided. The best white foods are ones that are not refined. Refining foods depletes most of the nutrients from them. When you think of good white foods think of unrefined variants.

Having foods of different colours ensure that the body receives a balanced diet. It is not left deficient of vital nutrients as more the colours in your food palate the more extensive the nutrients.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 549 articles authored by Juana

Related Articles

Nutrition And Performance Enhancing Supplements For Sports Persons

Optimal health being an essential requirement for an athlete, a sports person or a fitness-conscious that prefers to enhance his/her lifestyle, eating a healthy nutritional and well-balanced diet is more important to attain success. This write-up highlights the various nutritional priorities required by a sports person for enhancing sports performance and the use of different performance enhancing supplements to improve sports performance and their side effects.

Importance of food sanitation while eating in houses

In this resource, I am explaining about the importance of food sanitation in various institutions such as restaurants, coffee shops etc. The main points are the minimum requirements of cleanliness and sanitation in eating houses, important points regarding personal hygiene of food handlers, problem in food sanitation are due to food handling etc.

Cooking and kitchen tips for better health

Generally, we focus a lot only on the food we eat in order to maintain good health. But, it is important to focus even on the techniques that are used in the kitchen to prepare the food. Some minor adjustments here and there in our routine cooking techniques can go a long way in making us lead a very healthy life. I have tried to discuss a few tips in this article.

How Proteins And Vitamins Are Also Harmful?

If you think that excess of nutrition will keep you fit and healthy, you are totally wrong. The excess intake of protein and vitamins will make you sick. This article tells you how. Consuming more of proteins than is warranted affects kidney adversely. A balanced diet is the only panacea.

What should we eat to get the five nutrients that keep our body healthy?

We feel our body right only when ii remains fit trim and attractive. But body remains like this only when our body is disease free and getting the regular supplies of nutritional elements. We get nutritional elements from the food we eat for which our diet should be balanced and full if nutrients. What are these nutritional elements and how these could be gotten from diet forms the subject of discussion through this article.

More articles: Food nutrition in vegetable Nutrition


Author: K Mohan28 Feb 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 0

After reading this article my thoughts ran with the road side chat Bhandar person who has the good technique of serving the ordered food with color code topping. For example when you order for the Chole - Samosa chat, surely after mixing the both and made to heat then while finally serving the person would add flavors like Dahi, Mitta and even Katta. Likewise when we order the Bhelpuri, the final is served with toppings of mixture chura and dhania leaves to add pep to the taste. Even at the home we take care of serving the food with good color toppings so that the menu should look good and add taste.

Author: Juana28 Feb 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

I am afraid my article is not about adding flavours or garnishings to the food. It is about deriving benefits from foods of different colours. Please note that differently coloured foods provide different nutrients to the body. Through this article I have highlighted the fact that not all foods are the same, and that to remain healthy we must include a variety of foods from the different food palette, into our diet.

'Mixture chura' 'Mitta' and 'Katta' might have little or no nutritive value.

Author: Venkiteswaran24 May 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 1

Though I was somewhat aware of the nutrients of the common food items used in our plates, this article has given a new opening to see them in a grouping under colour codes.

Smart parents and elders can make their children eat variety foods by telling them about colour codes and 'decorating' their plates with all coloured foods. Parents and elders can select a right combination of raw and cooked foods to add colour to the plates, taste to the palate and nutrition to the body.

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: