Fruit & Vegetables - Which colour is the best?

Fruit and vegetables contain abundance of vitamins and minerals, fiber and also disease-fighting phytochemicals which if consumed in adequate amount, would prevent many chronic health problems such as overweight, diabetes, heart diseases, and certain cancers. The Centre of Diseases Control and Prevention (USA) recommended that one should have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. In addition, one should choose different colored fruits and vegetables in order to obtain the best phytochemicals the body needs. Fruit and vegetables are usually categorized into five colors including green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple, and white, and each of them has their own specific health benefits.

Green - contains lutein and zeaxanthin, indoles, vitamin K and potassium

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin maintain good vision(6).
  • Indoles prevent formation of breast and prostate cancer(2,3).
  • Vitamin K prevents clotting of arteries.
  • Potassium helps lower blood pressure(1).
  • Best sources: kale, broccoli, spinach, bok choy, watercress, kiwifruit and honeydew melon.

Yellow-Orange - contains beta-carotene and bioflavonoids

  • Beta-carotene reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, maintaining good eyesight, boosting your immune system and slowing aging(5,6,10) .
  • Bioflavonoids help strengthen bones and teeth7, improve wound healing and keep skin healthy.
  • Best sources: carrots, pumpkin, red and yellow bell peppers, orange, cantaloupe, papaya and peach.

Red - contains lycopene and anthocyanins

  • Lycopene reduces risk of prostate cancer(3).
  • Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory effect, and help fight heart disease(4,11).
  • Best sources: Tomato (especially cooked), beetroot, watermelon, papaya strawberry, cherry and red apple.

Blue-purple - contains phenolics

  • Phenolics lower risk of cancers(8), maintain urinary tract health(12), improve memory function(13) and anti-age.
  • Best sources: blueberries, purple grapes, plums and eggplant.

White - contains allicin

  • Allicin helps lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure(9), and boost immune system to fight infections.
  • Best sources: garlic, onion, leeks, ginger, potato and banana.

 

Healthy Fruit and Vegetable Recipe:

Five Colored Beef Salad (serve 4)

 

Ingredients:

2 cups

 

Spinach leaves

2 cups

Red cabbage, shredded

1 cup

Cherry tomato, halved

1 medium

Carrot, grated

1 medium

Yellow bell pepper, stripped

1/2 medium

Medium onion, stripped

400 g

Lean beef fillet

 

 

Dressings:

 

1/3 cup

Lee Kum Kee White Vinegar

1/2 tsp

Lee Kum Kee Freshly Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp

Lee Kum Kee Freshly Minced Ginger

1 tbsp

Lee Kum Kee Peanut Flavored Sauce

1/3 cup

Sugar

Cooking Method:

  1. Grill beef fillet till desired doneness, and slice into strips.
  2. Mix dressing ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
  3. Toss dressing, vegetables, and beef strips. Chill at least 2 hours
    before serving.

References:

1. N Engl J Med 2001; 344:3-10.
2. Int J Cancer 2003; 105:413-418
3. Pharm Biol 2002; 40:59-69
4. Ann Intern Med 2001; 134:1106-1114
5. Am J Med 2002; 113(9B):71S-88S
6. Am J Epidemiol. 1998;147:213
7. Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 71:142-151
8. J Nutr 2003;133:1937-1942
9. J Med 1987; 316:235-240
10. Am J Clin Nutr 2003; 77:1390-1399
11. J Clin Nutr 2003; 77:1400-1408
12. Harv Health Lett. 2005 Apr, 30 (6)7
13. Med Res News 2006 Jan 23

Written by: Sylvia See Way Lam APD

Find Us Online