Eat the Rainbow Challenge 2024

Did you know that the color of certain foods can have an impact on their health benefits? Color plays a more significant role in the benefits of foods than most have been led to believe, which is why the Eat the Rainbow Challenge is a great new eating plan to consider this year! In this article, we explore the challenge in more detail. We provide a brief round-up of how you can get involved and shed light on how specific colored foods can benefit your body.

What is the Eat the Rainbow Challenge?

The Eat the Rainbow Challenge is a relatively new eating plan that has historical health benefits. The rise of the challenge can be traced back to the Rainbow Diet, a science-backed eating regimen that revolves around the consumption of foods to support the chakras (1). Creating a link between the color of certain foods, their specific benefits, and the historical consumption of foods for chakras, Seattle-based nutritionist Dr. Deanna Minich suggests that the Eat the Rainbow Challenge is a great place to start a diet focusing on food color. The diet’s secondary principle is to encourage consumers to add healthy foods into their eating plans, rather than taking foods out. This approach is more positively inspiring and encouraging than traditional dietary practices.

Eat the rainbow challenge

How the Eat the Rainbow Challenge Works

Whereas the Rainbow Diet focuses on the consistent consumption of various colored foods throughout the day, the Eat the Rainbow Challenge shifts this complex dietary practice into a more manageable weekly strategy. The strategy is as follows:

  • Monday: Purple and blue foods
  • Tuesday: Green foods
  • Wednesday: Yellow and orange foods
  • Thursday: Red foods
  • Friday: White and brown foods
  • Weekend: Mix of rainbow foods

Each week, you should focus each day on the consumption of food groups with a specific color outlined above. For example, on a Monday you should eat a breakfast that consists of blue foods like a blueberry smoothie and a dinner rich in purple foods like beetroot (2). By segmenting this Rainbow Diet strategy into days, you can receive the holistic health benefits of all food colors every week.

So, let’s take a close look at the benefits of each food color group for your health.

Purple, Indigo, and Blue Foods for Your Health

Purple and blue foods are high in an antioxidant called anthocyanin, a naturally occurring chemical substance that gives the foods their purplish hue (3). The primary role of antioxidants in plants is to protect them from environmental stressors, such as overexposure to the sun and extremely cold temperatures. When consumed, antioxidants plays a role in protecting your cells from damage as a result of aging. 

The naturally occurring purple pigment is also an anti-inflammatory. Studies suggest that the consumption of anthocyanin can prevent the development of chronic conditions, such as metabolic disorders, cancer, and cardiovascular disease (4). These reports attribute this benefit to antioxidants containing antimicrobial, anti-mutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fruits and Vegetables to Try

  • Eggplants
  • Purple cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Red onions
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Purple grapes
  • Plums
  • Figs
  • Acai
  • Raisins

Green Foods for Your Health

Most are well aware of the fact that green fruits and vegetables are incredibly healthy. But beyond an understanding that these foods have beneficial nutrients and minerals, many are unaware of the role that color plays in the benefits of these foods. Most notably, myrosinase is an enzyme that gives green foods their natural hue (5). There are also several additional vitamins and chemical substances that contribute to the varying shades of green you will see. Myrosinase is responsible for the production of sulforaphane when you chew green foods, a compound that can help prevent damage to cells that can lead to cancer (6). Unfortunately, myrosinase breaks down when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, it is recommended eating as many raw green vegetables as possible.

Other green fruits and vegetables contain healthy vitamins, such as Vitamin A, K, and C. Each vitamin serves a specific role in the body, from regulating the production of melatonin for better sleep to supporting digestive health.

Fruits and Vegetables to Try

  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Kiwi
  • Avocados
  • Green apples
  • Green pears
  • Limes
  • Green grapes

Yellow and Orange Foods for Your Health

The yellow-orange color of certain foods comes from beta-cryptothanxin, a natural pigment molecule that is converted to A-vitamins in the body (7). This antioxidant’s contribution to your body’s vitamin profile can prevent the damage of oxidative stress to the cells, prevent heart disease, and reduce the impact of environmental stressors on the body. 

Besides this particular molecule, lutein and zeaxanthin can also contribute to the yellow-orange color of certain foods (8). These plant-based chemicals are responsible for preventing the absorption of excess energy and overexposure to sunlight in plants. Found in the human eye, the substances are also essential for good eye health. The supplementation of these substances through consuming yellow and orange foods can positively influence your overall health and well-being. 

Fruits and Vegetables to Try

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yellow peppers
  • Oranges
  • Clementines
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Pumpkin
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Butternut squash
  • Melon
  • Papaya

Red Foods for Your Health

Many red foods contain high concentrations of carotenoid lycopene, a highly beneficial antioxidant that provides protection against exposure to excessive levels of ultraviolet rays, improves cardiovascular functioning, and reduces the risk of certain types of cancer (9). Authoritative sources suggest that lycopene offers a number of health benefits because of its direct ability to fight the production of excess free radicals in the body (10). 

The consumption of red foods provides the body with a range of beneficial substances in healthy chemical families. Another incredibly beneficial carotenoid is beta-carotene, a substance that converts to retinol to strengthen the immune system and improve eye health. 

Fruits and Vegetables to Try

  • Tomatoes
  • Red peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Red apples
  • Watermelon

White and Brown Foods for Your Health

Onions and garlic are considered white and brown foods high in beneficial vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants. Allicin, quercetin, and kaempferol are among the many beneficial substances found in these food groups (11).

Quercetin and kaempferol are considered to be beneficial for one’s cholesterol levels. The substances have been shown to reduce blood pressure and support immune strength. Allicin is said to reduce inflammation and provide other antioxidant properties. The combination of these antioxidants can defend the body against the development of harmful conditions. 

Fruits and Vegetables to Try

  • Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Parsnips
  • Daikon radish
  • Mushrooms
  • Ginger
  • Artichokes

Your Takeaway

The Eat the Rainbow Challenge can be fun for a week but if there are fruits and vegetables that you regularly avoid, you should turn to supplements from Approved Science® to fill in your nutritional gaps. Happy eating!

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