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Eating the Rainbow for Immunity


As children, we were instructed, and sometimes pleaded with, to eat our vegetables or try a fruit when in search of a sweet treat. While I was not particularly jazzed about the steamed broccoli on my plate as a kid, as I got older and started cooking for myself, a whole world of multi-hued produce opened my eyes to the delicious possibilities. 

With the start of colder weather nearly upon us, eating foods in a rainbow of colours is more important than ever to help keep our immune systems strong and ready to combat colds, flus, and other viruses.

Colourful fruits and vegetables contain valuable phytonutrients. These compounds not only give plants their distinctive colour, aroma, and taste, but when we eat them, phytonutrients have been shown to have an array of benefits from anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects to reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Eating a rainbow of produce is easy. Nature provides so many colourful options readily available in any grocery store or market. Try to aim for two to three servings of different coloured fruits and vegetables at every meal, as well as one to two at every snack.

Read on and get ready for some eye-catching and tasty inspiration on how to paint your plate with the colours of the rainbow.


Halibut Poached in Tomato Red Pepper Sauce

Halibut Poached in Tomato Red Pepper Sauce
Orange Carrot Cake

What better way to celebrate healthy eating than with cake? Thanks to a healthy dose of orange fruits and vegetables, this cake is chock full of carotenoids, a compound that converts to vitamin A in the body and is essential for proper immune health and good eye health.

Tempeh and Mango Curry

The stars of this delicious curry dish are yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, which are high in a form of carotenoids called xanthophylls. These compounds have more of a yellow pigment as opposed to their orangier cousins, the carotenes. While a powerful antioxidant, xanthophylls are mostly associated with maintaining good eye health.

Herb and Greens Frittata

Deep green fruits and vegetables are high on the list of health-promoting foods. Green foods have been shown to contain high amounts of antioxidants and nutrients that promote good cardiovascular health and can inhibit certain carcinogens. Serve this frittata alongside a leafy green salad for an unbeatable green culinary experience.

Purple Cabbage and Apple Soup

This vibrant soup is a soul-soothing hug in a bowl. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that promote health and proper brain function.

Caramelized Fennel and Yogurt Dip

This creamy dip will be your go-to for dunking vegetables or for spooning over roast chicken or root vegetables as a sauce. Compounds found in fennel have been shown to stimulate the production of T-cells in our body, which, in turn, may help improve our immune response to infections.




Warm Escarole Salad with Broiled Radishes, Cranberries, and Almonds

Escarole is a bitter green that stands up to heat and is suitable for grilling, braising, or using in soups. In this salad, it’s broiled with radishes before being dressed in a sweet, garlicky dressing that cuts the bitterness. Escarole is high in folate (vitamin B9), important in red blood cell formation, and vitamin A, important in immune function and eye health. Like kale and other cruciferous vegetables, it’s also very high in vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting. Bitter green substitutes If you can’t find escarole, use frisée (also called curly endive), mustard greens, or radicchio. Romaine also stands up to heat well and makes a good substitute, but it lacks the characteristic bitterness of the others.