Eat the rainbow. It’s a phrase that’s joined the likes of ‘plant based’ and ‘intuitive eating’ as one of a growing number of ways to express what a healthy diet looks like. It’s a foodie term that’s now been #hashtagged two million times on Instagram – #eattherainbow indeed.
But what do we need feed our bodies to pass the eat the rainbow test? It’s something I’ve been thinking about after an article suggested we should be incorporating 30 (!) different fruits and vegetables into our diets every week.
Eating the rainbow means enjoying a diverse range of fruits and vegetables every day of the week. Different colours, shapes, flavours and sizes. It really is that simple – eat plants, lots of them and mix it up as much as you can.
For example different coloured fruits and vegetables bring varying nutrients. Consider the following colours. How many have you ticked off in the last 24 hours or so?
Eating the rainbow is one of the keys to a happy gut. Put simply a diversity of plant food promotes good gut health. A wide variety of plant foods in our diets promote a diverse microbiota – a thriving community of good bacteria in our guts. They look after our minds and bodies and keep ill-health and disease away. A healthy gut with flourishing good bacteria also brings a whole host of other benefits – including reducing risks of depression and cardiovascular disease, improving immunity, and reducing body weight.
I was intrigued to know whether my fruit and vegetable intake was diverse enough – was I meeting the 30 a week that the article recommended? To find out I kept a diary for a week to monitor how colourful my rainbow was.
So how did I go? My rainbow list for the week is below. You’ll see my total tally reached 33 – yay! Items in italics show where I introduced ‘new’ fruits or vegetables were during the week.
- Monday: Cauliflower, Celery, Rocket, Bok choy, Banana, Mesclun salad, Mushrooms, Avocado, Lemon, Basil, Tomatoes, Grapes
- Tuesday: Red cabbage, Celery, Zucchini, White cabbage (sauerkraut), Onion, Leek, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Broccoli, Avocado, Sweet potato, Pear
- Wednesday: Passionfruit, Radish, Coriander, Cos lettuce, Sweet potato, Tomatoes, Sweet corn, Avocado, Lemon, Banana, Grapes
- Thursday: Red cabbage, White cabbage (sauerkraut), Pumpkin, Mesclun salad, Beetroot, Avocado, Lemon, Onion
- Friday: Red cabbage, Onion, White cabbage (sauerkraut), Celery, Mesclun salad, Avocado, Radish, Lemon, Cauliflower, French beans, Brussel sprouts, Carrots, Parsnip, Grapes, Banana
- Saturday: Passionfruit, Kale, Cos lettuce, Butternut squash, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Eggplant, Parsnips, French beans, Brussel sprouts, Banana, Grapes
- Sunday: Avocado, Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Kale, Onion