Food colors and how they affect us


The colors of fruits and vegetables incorporate close to 25,000 chemicals. There is evidence that interaction between the colors provides benefits, so it’s important to have a diverse diet and eat different foods. However, you should also have the knowledge of proper food combinations because improper mixture is one of the main reasons for food allergies.

Improper food combination hinders with the optimum nutrient absorption. We know from latest research as well that knowledge of balanced food combination is an essential part and an asset in achieving good health. Improper food combining will not cause a person to become immediately sick, but it will have its impact in the long run; it will prevent what they are eating from being digested and utilized to the best of its ability. Balanced food combining is very important in getting the nutrients of food for better absorption and digestion.

Different foods require different digestive processes in the body; thus they are most easily digested when combined properly. Modern researchers say that improper food combinations can cause a person to inadequately digest their food, which can create imbalances in PH levels, improper absorptions of nutrients, constipation or other digestive troubles.

Dr Ted Morter, in Your Health Your Choice, advises us to not eat fresh fruit with any other food, even dried fruit, since it is pre-digested food that moves straight through the stomach and in to the intestines. When it is eaten with any other food, it ferments itself and anything else that is in the stomach.

Also improper food combining results in hidden food allergies which are a common issue these days. Modern allergists also advise against improper food combining and tell us that many combinations can create synergistic allergic reactions. In the book The Whole Way to Allergy Relief and Prevention, Dr Krohn advises us not to combine milk and chocolate, mint or fish, corn and bananas beef and yeast, eggs and apples, or cola and chocolate.

Let’s see the different food colors and their specific benefits:


Red is the color of energy. Choose the foods from this group at times of day when you feel tired, but not if you’re angry or you want to relax. Tomatoes, Water Melon, Guava, Pink Grapefruit all come under this group. These contain the carotenoid lycopene, and antioxidants that help rid the body of free radicals that damage genes. Lycopene seems to protect against prostate cancer as well as heart and lung disease. One glass of tomato juice gives you 50% of the recommended lycopene.


Orange is the color of joy. Choose these foods at times of the day when you feel lacking in energy, depressed or indecisive, but not if you feel like overeating, are angry or irritable. Carrots, mangos, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkin, acorn squash, winter squash and sweet potatoes can all be consumed from this group. These contain alpha carotene, which protects against cancer. They contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. It protects the skin against free-radical damage and helps repair damaged DNA. Beta-carotene is also good for night vision.


Yellow is the color of the mind and intellect. Choose foods from this group at times of the day when you are nervous, need to concentrate or make decisions, but not when you’re stressed. Spinach greens, collard greens, mustard greens, turnips greens, yellow corn, green peas, avocado, honey-dew melon are all available foods. These are sources of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These are believed to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Lutein is a yellow-green substance that concentrates in the back of your eye. It may also reduce atherosclerosis.


Pineapples, oranges, tangerines, peaches, papayas, nectarines, lemon and other citrus fruits concentrate this group. These contain beta-cryptothanxin, vitamin C and flavonoids that help cells in the body communicate and may help prevent heart disease. Also, an orange contains 170 percent of the recommended daily vitamin. It’s interesting to note that the skin of an orange is high in a protective fat that has been found to kill cancer cells in humans and animals, which highlights the fact that two thirds of all drugs come from the plant world.


Purple is the color of spirituality. Choose foods from this group at times of the day when you need some motivation and purpose, but not if you’re feeling energetic. Beets, eggplant, purple grapes, grape juice, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, red apples and plums are all edibles for this group. These are loaded with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, believed to protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots. They may also delay the aging of cells in the body. Grapes berries and plums also contain reservatrol, which may help decrease estrogen production. There is some evidence that they may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease as well.


Green is the color of balance. Choose foods from this group at times of the day when you feel anxious or need to calm down, but not if you want to think objectively and analytically. The foods include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale. These contain the chemicals sulforaphane and isocyanate and they also contain indoles, all of which help ward off cancer by inhibiting carcinogens.


Leeks, scallions, garlic, onions, celery, pears, endive chives all make up this group. The onion family contains allicin, which has antitumor properties. Garlic, onions and chive also contain ally sulfides which help destroy cancer cells, reduce cell division and support immune system.

So there you have it, a thorough description of all the colors in fruits and vegetables and how they work for our health. Understanding their nature would help us make better food combinations.

About the author: Samina Tariq Khan holds a Consultant Practitioner’s Diploma in Holistic Nutrition (DHN) from Edison Institute of Nutrition Canada as well as a Masters Diploma in Nutrition MDN from Edison Institute of Nutrition, Canada. She also has a Naturopathic Doctorate Degree in Natural Healing from Avicenna Institute, USA (now known as BEarth Institute)