Health Benefits of Eating Colourful Vegetables

This colour chart shows why colour matters when it comes to fruits and veggies

Credit: Flickr /Martin Cathrae

Colourful vegetables can reduce the potential for illness and disease

Eating a rainbow of brightly coloured, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables is perhaps the single best thing you can do to improve your diet

Red fruits and vegetables often contain lycopene and anthocyanins, which may help reduce the risk of several types of cancer. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage and contribute to heart health. 

Orange and red fruits and vegetables also frequently contain potassium, which may help protect against kidney stones, and may lower blood pressure and counteract increased blood pressure from too much salt. 

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables also get their colour from anthocyanins – powerful antioxidants that protect cells, help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and disease, and improve memory function.

Green fruits and vegetables contain chlorophyll, lutein and indoles. These may help protect against cancer, birth defects and cataracts. 

Orange/yellow fruits and vegetables often contain carotenoids, associated with healthy eyes, a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, and improved immune system function. Citrus fruits like oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate – a B vitamin that helps reduce the risk 
of birth defects.

Red Blue/Purple Green Orange/Yellow
cranberries blackberries broccoli butternut squash
cherries blueberries green beans corn
beets plums cabbage carrots
radishes figs kiwi mangoes
raspberries purple cabbage grapes oranges
strawberries purple grapes spinach pumpkin
tomatoes raisins peas sweet potato
red peppers eggplant cabbage orange/yellow pepper
pink grapefruit blackcurrants avocado cantaloupe
watermelon açai berry leafy greens apricots

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.