Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Eat your colours

This is quite a colourful article, I could say...

Adding colour to your meal is good for your health

PINK may be the colour of health. But the path to a healthier and possibly longer life is paved with a myriad of shades: Red, green and even blue. (And white, if you consider it a colour).

Despite how good they taste, not all foods are created equal. It's genetics, really, not so much a social condition. And according to various studies, some of the headliners of fruits and vegetables are, not surprisingly, of the more colourful variety.

These naturally have higher levels of a unique set of nutrients - specifically vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids such as beta carotene, and other beneficial phytochemicals (plant chemicals) - which are all antioxidants (or act like one). Think kailan, papaya and cantaloupe.

According to insights published by the Health Promotion Board, phytochemicals act like antioxidants because they, over time, help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Trace minerals like zinc and manganese also act as antioxidants.

What are antioxidants? In short, they are colour-coded agents of your body's peace of mind that help fight nasty free radicals (naturally occurring unstable molecules, as well as those spawned by external factors such as pollution and UV radiation). These, you could say, are the villains behind the ageing process and a possible cause of the afore mentioned diseases that antioxidants target.

One of the studies featured on BBC's The Truth About Food also described how a modest increase in the daily intake of the antioxidant lycopene (even over a short period of time) can help improve the skin's defence against UV radiation (sunburn).

Foods rich in this variety include vibrant yummies such as tomatoes, grapefruit, carrots, capsicums and, yes, even watermelon. But recent studies have found a new Numero Uno - the James Bond of these natural born defenders - in the humble pomegranate juice.

In a 2008 analysis published in the Journal Of Agriculture And Food Chemistry, POM Wonderful 100 per cent Pomegranate Juice (also the largest US grower of pomegranates) was shown to be the leader in the antioxidant beverage category over red wine, green tea and several juices.

A scientific and clinical monograph performed by the American Botanical Council on the product (now available at leading supermarkets, by the way), found that pomegranate juice had "both a higher total polyphenolic content and greater antioxidant activity than other commonly consumed fruit juice, including grape, cranberry, orange, and apple juice".

More specifically, as an antioxidant, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice was found to be "100 times more powerful than blueberry juice and 300 times more powerful than grape juice".

Oh well, go ahead, have yours shaken (not stirred), if you like.

From TODAY, Food - Saturday, 09-Oct-2010
Eat your colours

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