These substances naturally found in our plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes are called phytochemicals (plant chemicals).
People have used plants as medicine since the day they existed. Quinine and
Medicines such as aspirin were found as a result of the examination of plants. Today, about a quarter of the medicines we use are of plant origin. Researchers find new active substances in the prevention of diseases of our age by researching the plants that ancient societies consumed for therapeutic purposes and animals instinctively ate to heal.
Many of the health-promoting substances found in our plant foods are color pigments, especially those that impart their color to vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits, which have a very important place in our diet with the density of nutrients and phytochemicals they contain, are grouped according to their colors as follows.
Pink-red : Watermelon, tomato and pink grapefruit are rich in lycopene. By catching free radicals that damage genes, lycopene shows a protective feature against various cancers and lung diseases, especially prostate.
dark red/purple : Foods such as red and black grapes, strawberries, cherries, red plums and apples, red peppers, beets, red cabbage, red wine and eggplant contain anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. Anthocyanins slow down cell aging and prevent blood clotting.
Orange/yellow : Foods such as carrots, apricots, pumpkins, yellow squash, oranges, and peaches contain substances called carotene and cryptoxanthin. These substances also fight free radicals, repair damaged DNA and protect against heart disease.
Green/yellow and dark green :Spinach, whole greens, peas and melons are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent cataracts and blindness, and foods such as broccoli and cabbage are rich in sulforaphane, isocyanate and indoles, which reduce the effect of carcinogens.
White/green : Garlic, onion, leek and celery allicin, which has an anticarcinogenic effect; Apples, pears, and white grapes also contain flavonoids with antioxidant properties, such as quercetin and kempferol.
For a healthy and proper diet, choosing foods according to their color can be used as an easy and memorable way to get the beneficial substances they contain.