The color of foods depends on their coloring substances, making them appealing and enjoyable.
Artificial coloring – These are used as additives by the food industry. They have no positive health effects, and unfortunately, many of them are harmful.
Natural colors – Plant-based foods, mainly fruits and vegetables, contain various colored pigments that enhance their natural beauty. These natural colors are also beneficial to health. Some are even anticarcinogens.
This color results from the presence of chlorophyll, the most abundant vegetable pigment. This substance lets plants capture the sun’s energy to synthesize glucose, which is later converted into starch and other nutrients.
Chlorophyll is an antioxidant and blood-purifying. Its anti-cancer properties are under investigation.
Red is from lycopene, a carotenoid (a pigment similar to carotene in carrots). It is a powerful antioxidant. It neutralizes free radicals that damage the DNA in the cells and cause mutations and premature aging. It adds to the proper function of the prostate and prevents it from becoming cancerous.
This color is due to carotenes, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic vegetable pigments. Beta-carotene is the most important because it transforms into vitamin A in the body much higher proportion than other carotenes or carotenoids (pigment similar to carotenes).
Various pigments present this color:
Carotenoids, such as lutein, in corn. Carotenoids are antioxidants and serve to protect the retina. Spinach also contains lutein, although they are not yellow since chlorophyll is its predominant pigment.
This rich color is due to a type of anthocyanin called betacyanin, which has similar properties to purple anthocyanins. They may also act as anti-anemics.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 394, 395. Print.