RAINBOW DIET leaves you in pink of health, mind and soul says KAMALA THIAGARAJAN
As far as healthy eating is concerned, all you need to do is follow the rainbow! Over the years, health gurus have devised some of the world’s most impossible diets.
Many of these have the most minuscule portion sizes, while others require you to count the calories of every morsel that passes through your lips! Some diets recommend a single kind of food —such as cabbage soup or the grape fruit diet. And others such as the Atkins, simply defy logic.
Experts are now touting a diet plan that finally focuses on good health as the building blocks of a wholesome body—one that invigorates and satiates.
Welcome to the colourful rainbow diet! Food, colour and health: The rainbow diet operates on the principle that food, colour and health are inter-related. Our bodies require fat, proteins and carbohydrates to function. These are the very basic macronutrients needed to sustain life. Most fad diets focus only on these, completely ignoring the fact that we also need (albeit in lesser quantities), vital minerals, vitamins and salts, classified as micronutrients, in order to survive.
According to Deepshikha Agarwal, dietician and Sports Nutritionist, “The rainbow diet is unique because here one can mix different coloured fruits and vegetables, making a meal palatable, attractive while adding a nutrient rich variety. It also aids in permanent weight loss and includes foods rich in antioxidants which help to protect our body against serious diseases like cancer and heart problems, while toning the immune system.”
Each meal should be 80 percent plant based with no more than 20 percent meat. According to research by the Mc Kinley Health Center, University of Illinois, it was established that phytochemicals are often found in the colouring agents of fruits and vegetables, so eating brighter coloured varieties will yield richer nutritional benefits.
Preparing Rainbow meals Here are some of the colours you should be seeing more of on your plate! Violet-IndigoViolet-indigo foods strengthen and repair. Contained in eggplant, purple cabbage, black grapes, plums and grains, these foods have anti-oxidants that give a measure of protection against free-radicals, thereby preventing early ageing. It also protects the blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and cartilage from damage.
Blues and greens Research has proven that chlorophyll present in all green plants has the ability to offer protection against debilitating diseases such as cancer. Green and blue coloured foods are also known for their detoxifying properties. They also contain anthocyanin –a substance that has protective effects on the heart and heals any kind of inflammationThis includes broccoli, spinach, green grapes, green apples, capsicum, beans, kiwi, even green almonds and blueberries.
Yellow-Orange foods Yellow and orange foods are known to contain a pigment called carotenoids. Beta carotene (a form of Vitamin A) plays a large role in protecting one’s vision and the immune system. Stock up on carrots, papaya, sweet corn, pumpkin and of course, oranges!
Red foods Packed with lycopene, they protect the brain from oxidative stress and guard against Alzheimer’s and dementia. So stock up on pomegranate, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, radish, watermelons, tomatoes, red potatoes and beets, all of which pack a powerful nutritional punch!
All the food that you choose for the rainbow diet should be natural and wholesome. Minimise external influences such as freezing and even microwaving as far as possible. The entire family adapts to this diet easily, especially children who really appreciate the visual splendour. And as with all rainbows, there is a proverbial pot of gold at the end of this one too—pink of health for the body, mind and soul!