Colour determines the quantity and quality of nutritious food we consume

How are colour and nutrition related? Colour influences how food appeals to us. Just the sight of food stimulates the hypothalamus.

Colour influences taste too. Why is this important? Vision interacts with taste and odour (how food should smell and taste).

Colour has a psychological effect. So we ‘see red', go ‘green with jealousy', ‘feel blue' and turn ‘black with rage'. These relate to actual changes that take place in the colours of our own electro-magnetic field due to changes in our emotions. We cheer up when we see bright red and are warmed by the red coals of an open fire Blue is a cold colour that soothes the eyes and the mind, while green brings harmony. No wonder a walk in the country refreshes us!

Rainbow colours (VIBGYOR)

Universally, it is difficult to get a consumer to try a blue-colored food. Greens, browns, reds and other colours are more acceptable, though this varies in different cultures.

Violet soothes frayed nerves and so is therapeutic for those who are nervous and highly-strung. Violet can be used to develop spiritual and intuitive faculties and is used before and during meditation. Violet could be used to relieve mental and nervous diseases, as well as rheumatism, concussion, kidney and bladder diseases.

Violet foods: Aubergines, purple grapes, blackberries and purple broccoli.

Pink soothes violent or anxious adults for a few hours and is sometimes used on walls in prisons or in centres where mental illness is treated. In children it stimulates creativity. Sleeping between pink sheets could help get rid of insomnia.

Pink foods: pomegranates, strawberries and water melon.

Blue has the opposite effect of red. While red expands and stimulates, blue contracts and restricts. It slows things down so it can combat infectious diseases where there the temperature rises. Blue is antiseptic, cooling and astringent. Psychologically, blue can bring peace of mind, particularly after excessive mental stress. Too much blue, however, can give you ‘the blues', in which case it needs to be balanced with red. Blue can be helpful in treating those with throat trouble and fever as well as in children's ailments such as mumps, measles, inflammation, spasms, stings, itching and headache. It could also be used to treat shock and insomnia.

Blue foods: Blueberries, bilberries, blue plums, blackberries and grapes.

Green calms us and makes us feel at peace. Green in spring time brings a feeling of renewal, new life, freshness and brightness. It has a calming effect on blood pressure and the heart, and can alleviate headache and flu. Green foods: Cabbage, spring greens, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Yellow is a positive colour which acts on the nervous system. It stimulates the intellect and so is good for school rooms, and anywhere where good conversation is desirable. Our spirits are raised by looking at yellow and orange, as they most resemble sunshine which our bodies crave. Yellow helps the liver with elimination and purifies the intestines. It's good for the skin too. Yellow can be used to relieve nervous exhaustion, depression, indigestion, skin and liver problems and constipation.

Yellow foods: Lemons, bananas, grapefruit, pineapples and sweet corn.

Orange strengthens the lungs, the pancreas and the spleen. It warms the emotions and creates a feeling of well-being. It is a stimulating colour and can be used to treat lack of vitality, muscle spasms and cramps, asthma and bronchitis, as well as colon cleansing. Orange can also help boost the appetite.

Orange foods: Apricots, mangoes, peaches, carrots, pumpkin, oranges, tangerines and orange peppers.

Red is the element of fire. It stimulates and excites the nerves and blood, releases adrenalin, activates circulation and vitalises the body. Red helps overcome tiredness and inertia, as well as chronic chills or colds. It stimulates will-power and courage. Wounds can heal faster if you surround yourself with red while healing. It can help get rid of headaches (try putting a red towel over your eyes). Too much red can raise blood pressure, however, so it should be used in moderation.

Red foods: Beets, cherries, red berries, damsons, plums, radishes and red peppers.

Nature's way to give us these rainbow colors is through vegetables and fruits. These two food contribute vitamins, minerals and fibre and are referred to as protective and regulatory foods.

Heinz Nutrition Foundation India

Keywords: dietnutritionColourodourtastefood