You may have heard a similar phrase to “eating the rainbow” from a popularly-consumed candy that is bursting with eye-catching colors. Essentially however, as a holistic health coach, the rainbow I recommend you eat daily is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Consuming a rainbow diet full of red 40, blue lake 1, yellow lake 5, or citrus red 2 are in no way, shape, or form healthy for you.
In fact, these artificial and synthetic food dyes used often in processed foods, such as breakfast cereals, cake mix, candy, baked goods, or frozen novelties, are very detrimental to your physical and mental health. It may sound easy for you, and exciting for your child, to pour a bowl of colorful cereal for breakfast every morning. However, that bowl of cereal is loaded with added sugar, artificial food dyes, hydrogenated oils, and toxic preservatives, such as trisodium phosphate. Researchers have come to confirm that consuming artificial food dyes could in fact increase hyperactivity and ADHD in children. These synthetic food colorings have also been linked to tumor growth and an increase in allergic reactions alike. Bewilderingly, these artificial dyes are banned in many countries, and removed from the products sold by the exact same company that inserts them here. For example, your box of macaroni and cheese could contain yellow 5 in the ingredient list, while the same exact company sells it in other countries with turmeric as a subistitue for yellow 5.
Frankly, you cannot be consuming a diet very high in deep-fried fast food, heavily processed food, and snacks loaded with fats and sugars and then expect to make it up by merely taking in multivitamins. Correspondingly, you can’t be living in at toxic environment full of external factors that are causing you excessive stress, depression, or resentment, while expecting your health to stay at its peak. It’s simply ironic, and contradictory to a healthy lifestyle. Instead, aim to cleanup your diet of processed food, artificial dyes and preservatives, and eliminate fast-food completely. Forthrightly, there is no room for fast-food items in a heathy lifestyle; fast-food is the ticket to a variety of health conditions, including but not limited to heart conditions, diabetes, high cholesterol, higher chance of developing cancer, cognitive decline, and obesity.
Intaking an overload of antibiotics, frequent trips to your beloved fast-food chain, or eating an abundance of processed junk food, means you are leading your gut into dysbiosis, and could cause your body to go into autoimmunity, in which it begins to attack itself. Many chronic health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, coronary heart conditions, hypertension, or cancer, are now being linked to physical distress, emotional distress, and bacterial overgrowth that leads to autoimmunity with time.
Your body depends on you to feed it well, and although you may be consuming junk food or drinks and not see the direct effects now, you may be oblivious to what’s occurring within your system. Health conditions may not develop overnight, but with consistently bad habits it may begin to take a toll on your health. Fill your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, as they are bursting with free radical antioxidants, phytonutrients, dietary fiber, and a myriad of vitamins and minerals.
Foods high in beta-carotene include the vibrant orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash. But don’t be deceived and link beta-carotene to only orange vegetables; some dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are loaded with beta-carotene. Cantaloupe, dried apricots, sweet bell peppers, and cooked broccoli are also incredible sources of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is crucial for your sight, cognitive health, cardiovascular health, skin, and immune system.
Moreover, add dark blue and purple pigment food to your diet for a burst of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and digestive aid. These include blueberries, blackberries, cherries, goji berries, kidney beans, cranberries, and even pecans. Beets and beet juice are another incredible addition to your diet, that could improve the conversion of nitric oxide in your body, which is linked to every bodily function in your body. Beets are incredibly high in potassium and have been linked to improving energy and performance as well.
Eating lots of green food is vital, as they are full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamin K, dietary fiber, and crucial minerals. They are linked to satiety, and enhance your immune system tremendously. Also, beneficial to your immune system, are citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, and flavonoids.
Clearly, it’s life-depending for you to eat a rainbow-from nature. Whole foods found in nature are made for you to consume, and are undoubtedly of great benefit. Eat more fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, beans, and high-quality protein to enhance your health, and prevent many ailments down the road.
In my next piece, I will share my very tasty Rainbow Chickpea Salad, loaded with protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins.
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.