Mandy Lau, HK BioTek Nutritionist
Among the anti-cancer diets, apart from vegan diet, rainbow diet is now gaining more and more attention. Chris Woollam, who was the first few pioneer who raised the idea about Rainbow Diet and had published “Rainbow Diet” in 2008. The publication introduces the rationales behind such diet and includes a lot of recipes. When he first looked into anti-cancer diet, he was deeply impressed by the “French Paradox”. The French consume far more fats and alcohol than other nations, yet they have lower rate of cancer and heart diseases. After intense researches, Chris concluded two main factors explaining the phenomenon. First, carbohydrates and sugar consumption is the main culprit, rather than fat. Second, the existence of different active phytochemicals in different colored fruits and vegetables could help preventing cancer development.
Some scientists believe that cancers and diseases are caused by long term malnutrition of fruits and vegetables, along with other things such as lack of physical exercise, smoking, etc. The Rainbow diet’s purpose is to maximize prevention against cancers and diseases through the wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals in different colored fruits and vegetables. Each color of produce provides an unique set of nutrients and its action on body. Therefore, it is beneficial to consume as many color as possible to obtain the optimum protection.
Here are the different benefits of each color:
|Colors||Foods||Protective substances and possible actions|
|Red||Tomato, watermelon, guava||Lycopene:
Antioxidant, cuts prostate cancer risk
|Red||Carrot, yam, sweet potato, mango, pumpkin||Beta-carotene:
Supports immune system, powerful antioxidant
|Yellow-orange||Citrus fruits – orange, lemon, grapefruit, papaya, peach||Vitamin C, flavonoids:
Inhibit tumor cell growth, detoxify harmful substances
|Green||Spinach, kale, collard and other greens||Folate: builds healthy cells and genetic materials|
|Green-white||Broccoli, brussels, sprouts, cauliflower||Indoles, lutein:
Eliminate excess estrogen and carcinogens
|White-green||Garlic, onion, chive, asparagus||Allyl sulphides:
Destroy cancer cells, support immune system
|Blue||Blueberries, purple grapes, plums||Anthocyanins:
Destroy free radicals
|Red-purple||Grapes, berries, plums||Resveratrol:
|Brown||Whole grains, legumes||Fiber:
The key for Rainbow Diet is not just color variety, quantity also matters. To increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, you can take reference from “Rainbow Diet” and other related recipe books. Create a to-eat-list for the coming week. This would reduce the struggles before each meal and ensure even distribution of color and quantity throughout the week. Besides, you could try mix different colored fruits and vegetables to make your smoothie, soup or salad.