Scientists from Nutrition Research Australia and elsewhere found eating fruits and vegetables with various colors may help people gain many health benefits.
Phytochemicals can be defined, in the strictest sense, as chemicals produced by plants.
However, the term is generally used to describe chemicals from plants that may affect health but are not essential nutrients.
Because each phytochemical provides different health benefits, people can maximize it. Our health by getting in a variety of colorful phytochemicals each day.
This can be easily done by eating a variety of colorful plant foods each day, or simply put – EAT THE RAINBOW.
Although health promotion campaigns have advocated for people to ‘eat a rainbow’ of fruits and vegetables, previous studies have only focused on individual color pigments or individual health benefits.
In the current review, researchers aimed to summarize the evidence on the health effects of a variety of color-associated bioactive pigments found in fruits and vegetables.
These include carotenoids (yellow, red, orange), flavonoids (red, blue, purple), betalains (red, yellow, purple), and chlorophylls (green).
A total of 86 published studies were included, 449 meta-analyzed health outcomes and data from over 37 million participants were identified.
The researchers found 42% of health outcomes were improved by color-associated pigments.
Unique health effects were identified for red, orange, yellow, pale yellow, white, purple/blue, and green color-associated bioactive pigments.
Health outcomes linked to multiple color pigments were body weight, lipid profile, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, mortality, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Based on the findings, the team suggests that eating color-associated fruits and vegetables may help people get additional benefits beyond total fruit and vegetable intake.
The research was published in Molecules and conducted by Michelle Blumfield et al.
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