Eat Your Colours
This article is brought to you in partnership with PC ® Blue Menu™.
The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are abundant! Not only do fruits and vegetables taste great, they're also full of nutrients and other health benefits.
- Vitamins and minerals are rich in fruits and vegetables. They're required to support normal bodily functions and may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
- Phytochemicals are compounds in plants that have health benefits. Antioxidants are a type of phytochemical that may prevent against chronic disease. Reach for a variety of fruits and vegetables to get a good mix of phytochemicals.
- Fibre helps to maintain healthy blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It is also important for regularity and a healthy digestive system.
Eat your colours!
A healthy diet rich in a variety of fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Use a variety of colours to get a variety of nutrients. Fill your cart with a rainbow of colours to maximize your nutrient intake.
Blue/Purple: Coloured by natural pigments called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins in blueberries, grapes and raisins act as powerful antioxidants.
Yellow/Orange: Coloured by plant pigments called carotenoids. Carotenoids such as beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins are converted to vitamin A, which is important for bone and tooth development and maintaining the health of skin and membranes.
Red: Coloured by plant pigments called lycopene or anthocyanins. Lycopene found in watermelon, pink grapefruit and tomatoes may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Strawberries, raspberries and grapes are rich in anthocyanins.
White/Brown: Coloured by pigments called anthoxanthins, which may have some health benefits. Bananas and potatoes are good sources of the mineral potassium.
Green: Coloured by the pigment chlorophyll. Dark green vegetables such as spinach, dark leafy greens and peas contain lutein which may help to keep eyes healthy. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli may help protect against some kinds of cancer. In addition, folate, which is rich in broccoli and spinach is important for normal early development of the fetal brain and spinal cord and aids in red blood cell formation.
How much do we need?
Eating well with Canada's Food Guide focuses on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables:
2-3 years old: 4 servings per day
4-8 years old: 5 servings per day
9-13 years old: 6 servings per day
Girls 14-18 years old: 7 servings per day
Boys 14-18 years old: 8 servings per day
Women 19-50 years old: 7-8 servings per day
Men 19-50 years old: 8-10 servings per day
Women 51+ years old: 7 servings per day
Men 51+ years old: 7 servings per day
What is a Serving?
- ½ cup (125ml) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables/fruit
- 1 fruit or ½ cup (125ml) juice
- ½ cup (125ml) cooked or 1 cup (250ml) raw leafy vegetables
The Food Guide also recommends:
- Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day
- Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt
- Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
It's easy to meet your daily intake for fruits and vegetables:
- Include at least one to two servings of fruits/vegetables at each meal or snack.
- Focus on variety and go for vibrantly-coloured fruits and vegetables.
- Try a new vegetable or fruit when you go shopping.
- Plan your meals around a main dish, then add other foods to complement it.