Aposematism, in the animal kingdom, refers to the survival mechanism used by animals to alert their prey that they are dangerous. Yellow, orange, red, black and white when flaunted are all warning colors. These animals do not camouflage themselves but display themselves to be visibly seen by their predators, as if to say “Don’t eat me, I’m poisonous!”
However, in the plant kingdom the colors: orange, indigo, violet, yellow, red, blue and green, the seven color in the rainbow, are the colors of wholesome and nutritious fruits and vegetables that are packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cell caused by free radicals. Free radicals are waste substances produced by cells as the body processes food and reacts to the environment. If the body cannot process and remove free radicals efficiently, oxidative stress can result.
When there are more free radicals present than can be kept in balance by antioxidants, the free radicals can start doing damage to fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in your body. Proteins, lipids, and DNA make up a large part of your body, so that damage can lead to a vast number of diseases over time. These include:
- Atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the blood vessels
- Inflammatory conditions
- High blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension
- Heart disease
- Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Oxidative stress also contributes to aging.
Taste the Rainbow!
Most of us would have remember this phrase from the commercial advertising the bite size colorful chewy candies, Skittles.
However just like the Skittles, Nature has provided us with a wide variety of colorful and delicious fruits and vegetables that offer wholesome and nutritious benefits, and would also save you a trip to the dentist.
Consuming more whole grain, nuts, beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables aren’t only the healthiest option and prevent us from contracting non-communicable diseases, but the pay dividends in the long run.
Below is some of the benefits from consuming more items from the Rainbow:
- Helps with the waist
Some of the reasons of overweight are of course overeating but also stress. Due to our stressful lifestyles, we make bad food choices and we are always eating on the go. This accumulation of over processed and minimally nutritious food together with the hustle and bustle of life cause our stress hormone Cortisol to rise, which in turn can cause a rise in the free radicals, and all of this leads to the increased unwanted weight. Although the stress of life for most is inevitable to escape, our choices in our dietary can be altered. And our bodies would thank us for the change.
- Low calorie foods
Highly processed food are filled with saturated fats and sugars when eaten especially in excess is one of the leading causes of non-communicable diseases. A daily diet rich in fruits and vegetables which are low calorie options are a better choice and help and even in some cases if incorporated with exercise can reverse these aliments.
Ways to increase the use of fruits and vegetables in daily lifestyles
- Half, Quarter, Quarter:
Half fruits and vegetables, quarter animal and plant protein and the other quarter whole grains and starches. This method helps to have the majority of the content of the plate to be fruits and vegetables. These can be done gradually by adding an additional fruit and vegetable to every meal.
- Hide and sneak:
By grating or finely mincing vegetables like carrots or zucchini and adding them to your stews, sauces and breads.
- Try something new:
There are different varieties of fruits and vegetables, with their different flavors and aromas, and trying a new fruit every month can help to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diet.
Smoothies and shakes are a delicious way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into our daily diets. Vegetables like spinach and carrots and fruits like orange and papaya are some of the options that can be used.