whats in a colour? written in fruit and veg

Jamie's series, Jamie’s Super Food, saw him in South Korea, spending time with the country’s oldest living woman – he’s after her secret to a long and healthy life.

He discovered that South Koreans eat twice as many vegetables as we do here in the UK, and that they always pay close attention to the balance and colour of their veg, aiming to truly ‘eat the rainbow’.

Vegetables and fruit fall into five colour categories; green, red, purple, orange and white. Each colour (which is based on the type of ‘colour polyphenol’ they contain) also changes the sweetness, astringency and smell, as well as how easily the fruit or veg deteriorates. Eating the rainbow is truly good for you, as it packs in a variety of goodness available from Mother Nature.

Check out Jamie’s celebration of veg and fruit, and soak up these easy tips for filling your meals with more colour.


Tomatoes, peppers, chillies, cranberries, strawberries

Red fruit and vegetables are coloured by a natural pigment called lycopene, which has been linked to good heart health and a lower risk of cancer. Most red fruit and veg are high in vitamin C, which helps maintain our immune system. Pair sweet red peppers with griddled steak for a delicious and easy weekend lunch.


Aubergine, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, pomegranates, black cherries, black grapes

The dark purple skin on fruit and veg such as aubergines and blueberries, is due to something called anthocyanin. This antioxidant protects cells and can help reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer. The dark colour is thought to protect the food from the sun. We love the purple power of these delicious aubergine & mint bruschettas.


Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, oranges, pumpkin, apricots

The vibrant orange and yellow colour of so many sunshine fruit and veg is due to a well-known carotenoid called beta-carotene. There’s a reason we eat carrots to see in the dark – beta-carotene is packed with vitamin A, which is great for our eyes. Top a baked sweet potato with raw grated carrot and other colourful shredded veg for a super-nutritious lunch.


Broccoli, cabbages, spinach, kale, peas, sprouts, lettuce, broad beans, chicory, salad leaves

There are various nutrients in green veg. Leafy greens, such as spinach, are a particularly good source of folate which is great for pregnant women, and potassium which helps normal muscle function, contributes to our nervous system. Most green veg also contain indoles and saponins, which are linked to a reduced cancer risk. With broccoli, spinach and peas, this bowl of green dream noodles ticks all the boxes.


Onion, garlic, potatoes, radish, mooli

These pale and interesting members of the veg family contain various good things, such as allicin, which is found in garlic and is known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties. You’ll also find quercetin, which is typically found in onions and can help to reduce blood pressure. This incredibly simple radish pickle is fantastic with fish, or on the side of a traditional ploughman’s lunch.

For more tasty and nutritious ideas for family meals, head to Jamie’s Family Food hub.