Health & Wellness Healthy You

I pledge to eat my colours! 

Most of us don’t take ‘eat your rainbow’ too seriously and stick to the fruits and vegetables that please our taste buds. If we pay attention, colours in nature shout out to us about what they have to offer. The colour of vegetables tells us the type of phytonutrients they contain. 

This Republic Day, we bring you the benefits of vegetables that share their colours with our Indian flag. 

Orange 

What a fiery colour that denotes strength!  

Orange vegetables contain carotenoids like alpha-carotene and beta-carotene which our body converts to vitamin A. These vegetables have a natural sweetness to them which can work well to satisfy our cravings for desserts.  

Pumpkin

This fantastic vegetable is a real warrior.  

We all know about orange vegetables and strong vision and pumpkin is one of those vegetables which promises not just that but much more. 

The immense amount of vitamin A content in pumpkins is known to lower the risk of lung and prostate cancer.  

Just a cup of pumpkin juice lends 200% of the recommended vitamin A intake. That alone tells us how important this vegetable should be in our daily lives. 

Pumpkin seeds are a source of tryptophan which makes serotonin that is a “happy” neurotransmitter and a natural mood stabiliser. This makes pumpkin a jolly good fellow to make friends with. 

This wonderful vegetable is loaded with fibre which can fill you up in small amounts and protect your digestive system. 

It is also known to have a positive effect on the urinary tract and kidney function. 

The potassium content in pumpkins can not only aid in lowering blood pressure but it also lowers the risk of type-2 diabetes. 

When it comes to boosting immunity, pumpkin is the answer being high in vitamin C, E, folate and iron. 

So, don’t wait till next Halloween to include this amazing vegetable in your meals. It is sure to do some heavy lifting when it comes to keeping you healthy! 

Carrots

This crunchy vegetable is one of the favourites amongst children and adults alike. 

Carrots being one of the richest vegetables in beta-carotene, great eyesight is a given. It prevents macular degeneration which can take place due to ageing. 

Luteolin found in carrots promises to prevent cognitive decline. It helps keep our brain sharp. It also helps prevent lung, prostate and breast cancer as per the studies conducted. 

Our skin will forever be grateful to carrots as they contain retinol, biotin and lycopene, compounds that keep it soft and supple. 

The immune-boosting quality of carrots is due to its beta-carotene content. It helps prevent flu and cold-like symptoms while keeping the lungs healthy. 

White 

While we do stand behind ‘eat your rainbow,’ we don’t wish to ignore our white vegetables. These veggies are known to be rich in valuable nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and fibre which we generally fall short of. 

Most white vegetables are a powerhouse of sulphur compounds which are extremely beneficial to our health. So, don’t let the colour (lack of colour) deceive you and get a load on your plate!  

Mushrooms

This wild vegetable has been talked about in folk medicine for aeons. They have been used for healing in traditional medicine in many cultures around the world. Though these fungi are basically fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free and low in calories, fibre and sodium, they are definitely nothing close to nutrient-free. Their impact on our health is far-reaching. 

The substantial quantities of selenium found in mushrooms protect the cells from oxidative damage thus, keeping chronic diseases at bay. 

Did you know that mushrooms are a source of umami which is supposed to be the fifth taste? Sweet, salty, bitter, sour – the four tastes? Well, umami is the fifth one in the series that chefs define as rich savoury. 

Mushrooms can help in weight management as they are low-energy-dense foods. As they are filling, they help you feel satiated and thus help control weight. 

Being an overload of vitamin B types, mushrooms are lauded for their role in keeping our nervous system healthy. These vitamins also help to break down carbs, fats and proteins.

Garlic

 

Used for ages for its cardiovascular and antibacterial properties, this herb-like vegetable is a staple the world over.  

Garlic has been lauded for its lipid-lowering effect for generations. The sulphur in garlic helps keep the arteries healthy, thus making it a heart-healthy food. 

Garlic oil has been recommended for arthritis, muscle and joints pain. Rubbing it on the impacted area gives relief and prevents more damage. 

Touted to give you better hair and skin, garlic can kill the acne-causing bacteria. It has a robust amount of antibacterial and antioxidant properties and hence is revered as a skin and hair tonic. 

So, forgive the pungent smell-causing sulphur and make garlic a great addition to your dishes. 

Green 

How many times have we been told, “eat your greens?” This age-old advice helped us collect the benefits that anti-oxidants have to offer through green foods. 

Green vegetables have a high content of phytonutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate. These are rich in fibre and immunity-building compounds too. 

Broccoli

This vegetable is not only a fine looker but lends many vital nutrients. It has been hailed for its calcium and protein content, but let’s dig a little deeper with what else is hidden in this green flower. 

Like most cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is heart-healthy due to a compound called sulforaphane. It is an anti-inflammatory that keeps the blood vessels healthy. 

It is packed with soluble fibre which takes care of the cholesterol levels in the blood. 

Certain phytochemicals found in broccoli in abundance help keep free radicals at bay and increasingly detoxify the body. It may help fight against breast cancer, intestinal cancer and stomach cancer.   

Osteoarthritis is a nuisance caused mostly by inflammation in the body. Broccoli has enough anti-inflammatories, flavonoids and omega-3 fatty acids that can slow down the inflammation. 

Packed with fibre, this vegetable is known to aid digestion and may have a role to play in expelling H. Pylori from the digestive tract as per research done on mice. 

So, respect that broccoli your parents urged you to eat and get in charge of your health. 

Green peas

Were you aware that green peas promote great eyesight? But that’s what carrots do! Well, it’s a little-known fact that green peas contain a fair amount of carotenoid phytonutrients that promote healthy vision. 

The protein in the green peas is the culprit which still makes parents force them down into their children, and rightfully so.  

Though green peas are a starchy vegetable, their glycemic index is relatively low and now is researched to see the co-relationship it has to lower the risks of type-2 diabetes. 

Some recent studies show that these little warriors might help prevent stomach cancer due to their specific phytonutrients. 

High in magnesium and potassium, green peas are responsible for keeping the blood pressure in check, making them a heart-healthy food. 

The fibre in any foods is what keeps our intestines healthy and working fine. These little power rangers have a substantial quantity of their quota to do the same to our digestive system. 

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