Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

This statement was originally made by author Michael Pollan.

Eating plant foods, vegetables, fruits and seeds, can help keep you healthy and prevent the development of other unwanted diseases, such as cancer.  Conversely, eating too much processed meat or dairy can increase your overall risk of developing or dying from various types of cancers.

So how can you tap into the cancer-fighting qualities of fruits and vegetables?

 

According to Dr. Neal Barnard, of the Physicians Commitee for Responsible Medicine the more (naturally) colourful your food is the more likely it is to provide cancer fighting benefits. This is because the pigments that give food their colours are representative of the protective compounds in them.

 

  • Red Plants: You may already know that tomatoes contain lycopene, a cancer fighting antioxidant.  Did you also know that watermelon and guava contain lycopene as well?
  • Yellow Plants: Lemons, grapefruits, papayas, oranges and peaches contain vitamin C and flavanoids.  These two substances help with detoxification and inhibit tumour growth.
  • Green Plants: Green plants contain folate (and iron and calcium) which you might already have heard about being important during pregnancy.   This is because it helps build healthy cells and genetic material.  Green foods include spinach, kale, collards and more.
  • Green-White Plants: This group of plants contains cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts.  These plants have a contain indoles and lutein that eliminate excess estrogen and carcinogens.
  • Purple Plants: Grapes, berries and plums that are purple contain high amounts of resveratrol (also found in red wine). Resveratrol may decrease estrogen production.
  • Orange Plants:Foods that are high in betacarotene support the immune system.  These foods are often orange plants, such as carrots, yams, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and mangoes.
  • Blue Plants: You might already know that blueberries help you fight free radicals with an antioxidant known as anthocyanin.  Did you know that this antioxidant is also found in plums and grapes as well?
  • Brown Plants: Wholegrains and legumes contain fibre that help your body remove cancer causing toxic substances from your body.
  • White Plants:Onions, garlic, chives and asparagus contain allyl sulfides that support the immune system, destroy cancer cells and reduce cell division.

What we find the most exciting about this list of rainbow foods is that they are not hard to source or to add to your diet.  In fact, you may be looking at the list going wow, I already eat a lot of those.  And if that’s you, then great! If that’s not you, pick a fruit or vegetable you enjoy eating, and add it to your diet every day.

Even if you just add one purple grape to each of your meals, you will still be healthier than when you didn’t! 

Then when you’re comfortable with that fruit or vegetable, add another, and then before you know it, you’ll be eating more fruits and vegetables then you thought possible!