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The Wonders of Natural Colors

Versatility in COLORS  of  our wardrobe is ‘in’ as in fashion industry but is not  in our dietary habits.

Our eyes “eat” before we tempt to eat. We consider the  taste, cost and convenience of our intake  but often ignores the combination of ‘colors’  in our plate.

Phyto means plants and phytonutrients are the pigments that give fresh foods their vibrant hues of red, green, purple, and orange but more than that they contain powerful antioxidant properties that can have a profound effect on our total health.They are found only in plants and provides health benefits beyond those that essential nutrients provide. These substances, which works in an interactive way with vitamins, minerals, and fiber in our  promotes good health and lowers disease risk. Phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protect and regenerate essential nutrients, work to deactivate cancer-causing substances, prevention of heart diseases, diabetes, and high pressure. Food scientist estimated that there are approximately 4000 phytochemicals, out of which only a small fraction has been closely studied. Each phytochemical benefits our in a different way, so it’s good to have a combination of them.

Dark foods: Chlorophyll

We know that plants can’t grow without chlorophyll. But is beneficial for human also?  Lets find out!

Yes,  chlorophyll binds to potential carcinogens and interfere its absorption within the human gastrointestinal track. This helps to stop carcinogens from being circulated throughout the and reaching to our susceptible tissues, especially those within our joints or heart. It also improves Liver Detoxification. Some studies involving animals show that chlorophyllin may reduce the risk for aflatoxin induced liver damage or liver cancer. Chlorophyllin seems to slow the rate at which harmful bacteria reproduce, making it beneficial for wound healing and preventing infections.Its been added to certain ointments used to heal persistent open wounds in humans. It improves and Weight Control by speeding up waste elimination, balancing fluid levels,reducing cases of constipation,  naturally suppress intake and prevent weight gain.
Green veggies like spinach, broccoli, cabbage has high concentration of chlorophyll. They are excellent source of  vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, as well as carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Folic acid prevents from neural tube defects during pregnancy, and vitamin K is essential in clot formation. Food high in lowers pressure, and there is an inverse relationship between cruciferous vegetables and colon and bladder cancers.
We should consume some variety of leafy greens as part of our recommended five to seven servings of vegetables. Chlorophyll content is decreased when veggies are cooked, thawed after being frozen or when they start to spoil. Like the amount of in spinach was decreased by about 35 percent after it was thawed and another 50 percent after it was boiled or steamed. To consume the most from our diet, we should try to eat more of a raw or lightly cooking your veggies using low temperatures.

 

Blue/Purple foods: Anthocyanin

The blue/purple hues in foods are due to their anthocyanin content. The darker the blue hue, the higher the phytochemical concentration. Anthocyanins are antioxidants are particularly known as heart healthy and may help support healthy pressure.Anthocyanins  prevents from clot formation. They may also help lower risk of cancer. Consumption of blueberries is linked with improved memory function and healthy aging. Some anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties, and some studies suggest their role in the inhibition of tumor development,  diabetes and ulcer treatment. Anthocyanins may work as anti-viral and anti-microbial too.

Eggplant (especially the skin), blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums, pomegranates, cranberries, blackberries and plums are good sources of Anthocyanins.

Orange, and foods : Carotenoids


Oranges,  sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, spinach, avocado, kiwifruit, other leafy greens, pistachios and pumpkin are super as they are richest-known sources of carotenoids and beta carotene, which can be converted by the into retinol, a bio available source of vitamin A.

This powerful antioxidant is beneficial for eye health, immune system function and a healthy heart. Zeaxanthin, which is also found in and foods like spinach, collard greens as well as egg yolk, is beneficial for the eyes and immune system. Beta-carotene rich foods such oranges, papayas, bell & kiwis also contain vitamin C, which protects cell from free radical damage as well as promoting skin and immune system health. These foods exhibit a richness in lutein which is particularly beneficial for eye health. Lutein receptors are in the macula of the eye, it helps to  protect against age-related macular degeneration.” lutein is found in the skin around the nut.

Red Foods: Lycopene


Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon and papaya are rich in the antioxidant Lycopene (a carotenoid).  Lycopene is effective in supressing the free radicals that can damage cell membranes. A carotenoid, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant as it reduced the risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks. Food scientists believe that poor communication between cells is one of the causes of the abnormal growth of cells, which may ultimately lead to the development of different kinds of cancer. Lycopene may limit tumor growth by stimulating communication between cells. Its benefits are related directly to its antioxidant properties.

Cooking further enhances the activity of some phytochemicals, such as lycopene. Cooked tomato has greater health benefits compared with the uncooked version because the heating process allows all carotenoids, including lycopene, to be more easily absorbed by the body.

Other than vitamin C and folate, red and vegetables are also sources of flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and have antioxidant properties.

White foods : Anthoxanthins

Some phytochemicals are colorless found in bananas, parsnips, potatoes and garlic which take their ‘color’ from pigments called anthoxanthins. These anthoxanthins  contain health-promoting chemicals such as allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and pressure and their role in helping to reduce the risk of stomach cancer and heart disease. Some white foods like potatoes and bananas are also good sources of potassium, needed for nerve and muscle function as well as pressure – which in turn is associated with diabetes, kidney failure and Cushings disease.

The largest class of phytochemicals are the flavonoids  which are mostly colorless. Flavonoids are potent antioxidants, helps our to counteract free-radical formation hence protect us against hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer.

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