A discussion: Eating the colors of the rainbow for strong immunity (bonus: a great rainbow recipe)
As we discussed in the previous article, eating the colors of the rainbow is a great strategy for strong immunity. And one of the important things the current situation has taught us is to the value a strong immune system. It is high time we include a variety (different colors) of seasonal fruits and vegetables in our diets so our daily diet is rich in all the essential nutrients. Let’s discuss the different colors of the rainbow and their health benefits:
- Red: A natural plant pigment called lycopene gives red fruits and vegetables their color. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy. Some popular foods in this group are tomato, red capsicum, radish, strawberries, cherries, red grapes, raspberries, watermelon and red apples
- Orange & Yellow: The vibrant orange and yellow colors are given to this group of fruits and vegetables by the Carotenoids. A popular carotenoid called beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A. This helps maintain healthy eyes and mucous membranes. Another carotenoid called lutein has also been found to prevent cataracts and age-related muscular degeneration in the eyes, which can lead to blindness. Carrots, lemons, sweet potato, pumpkin, pineapples, mangoes, corn, oranges, peaches, apricots and grapefruit are good foods from this group.
- Green: A range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins are found in green foods, all of which reduce the risk of cancer. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate. Examples are spinach, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, peas, green apples, green grapes, kiwi, green beans, lettuce, cabbage, celery, cucumber and green capsicum.
- Blue & Purple: The blue/purple fruits and vegetables get their distinctive color from a plant pigment called anthocyanin. It has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. You can have beetroot, eggplant, asparagus, blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes and plums from this group.
- Brown & White: White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties (exactly what our bodies need in the current times). Some members of the white/brown group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium. Cauliflower, brown pears, mushrooms, white peaches, garlic, bananas, potatoes, dates, onions, ginger and turnip are popular foods from this the brown & white club.
The Rainbow Recipe: Mixed Vegetable Rice Stir-fry in MEC
Here is a great rainbow recipe that has become a staple among family and friends. It can be cooked with rice, quinoa or semolina. It tastes great and is at its healthiest when cooked in MEC – 100% non-toxic and nutrient-preserving cookware. Your kids will love it too, you can make it a fun activity – let kids chop the vegetables as the grown-ups monitor.
Ingredients of the Rainbow:
- Red: Beetroot – 1 chopped to smaller than bite sizes, 1 dried red chili or ½ red chili (if cooking for kids).
- Orange: Carrots – 2 chopped to small bite sizes
- Yellow: Yellow potato – 1 chopped to small bite sizes
- Green: Green bell pepper
- Purple: ½ a medium size purple onion
- White: 4 cloves of garlic
½ tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, 2 cups of white or brown basmati rice, 1 tbsp of healthy cooking oil, salt to taste.
- Set the pot on the stove and add 2 tsp of oil, add onions, carrots, beets and potatoes.
- Cover and cook for 5 minutes then mash garlic and add to pot.
- After 10 minutes, add red chili, cumin powder, coriander powder.
- Cover and cook till the veggies are half done. Add washed rice and water to proportion and cook.
- Drizzle oil when done. Serve with a dash of clay pot yogurt and cilantro!
Of course you can tweak this recipe by adding or substituting some of its colorful ingredients with others you might have at home. The point is to make your diet full of different colors to boost your immunity.
It is never too late to start eating healthy and nutritious food, and keep our bodies prepared for fighting any attacks.
Growing immunity in the community is the sustained way the epidemic ends: with fewer and fewer people to infect, the virus will lose its toehold and even the most vulnerable citizens become more insulated from the threat.
We’ll get through this and come out stronger, wiser and well prepared for any kind of challenges, if ever, in the future!