“You can’t judge a book by its cover”, goes an old saying.
Well you can judge the fitness value of fruit and veg by its colour. Bright reds, greens, yellows and purples all mean that they are packed full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. These are always a great indication that what you are about to eat is going to be good for you!
Research indicates that you can slow down the ageing process and recover quicker, from training by eating fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Phytochemicals are plant compounds that have numerous health benefits. They include plant pigments that are found in fruit and vegetables and plant hormones and in grains, beans, lentils and soya.
Phytochemicals work as anti-oxidants (see below) and influence enzymes, such as those that block cancer agents. As well as all this phytochemicals also:
– Reduce inflammation
– Combat free radicals
– Reduce risk of heart disease
– Boost immunity
– Balance gut bacteria
– Fight harmful bacteria and viruses
The phytochemical content of foods can literally be seen at a glance. The more intense the colour of the fruit or veg the more phytochemicals you’ll be getting.
Orange, red and yellow
Carrots, apricots and mangoes get their colour from beta-carotene and other carotenoids, whilst tomatoes and watermelon are rich in lycopene a type of carotenoid. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that keep you young looking.
Broccoli, cabbage and spinach are rich in iron and chlorophyll – a powerful antioxidant.
Red and purple
Plums, cherries, red grapes, strawberries and blackberries get their colour from anthocyanins, which are more powerful at fighting free radicals compared to antioxidants.
Apples, pears and cauliflowers contain flavanols which protect against heart disease and cancer.
Antioxidants vs Free radicals
Antioxidants are nutrients that include various vitamins such as beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, minerals such as selenium and phytochemicals. Our bodies produce free radicals. These are destructive elements, although a part of normal cell processes.
Free radicals can also be produced by cigarette smoke, sunlight, stress and intense exercise. What damage can they do? They can fur arteries and increase the risk of thrombosis, heart disease and cancer. The great news is that a diet rich in antioxidants can help to neutralise their affects.
Spice up your day with this muscle building, craving-fighting shake!
1 scoop of whey protein
1 small square of 70/90% dark organic chocolate
1/2cup skimmed milk or oat milk, if you have a dairy allergy
1 tbs of almond butter
1/3 cup of blackberries
Put the first five ingredients into a blender. Shake them together, then pour into a glass and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.
The fitness benefits:
– Whey protein will build your muscles.
– Cayenne pepper will speed up your metabolism.
– Chocolate will help keep your cravings at bay plus you’ll get a caffeine kick.
– Milk will supply vitamin D and calcium, which is important for bone density.
– Almond Butter is a healthy fat.
– Blackberries are a great antioxidant.
Please enjoy this delicious and nutritious recipe which utilises the colours discussed here and their numerous benefits.