Eat the rainbow!?!
In keeping with our theme of nutrition lately, we're going to be exploring ROYGBIV today!
But, what is it? Surely you've heard it if you've been in the gym space long enough. ROYGBIV is an acronym for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet! Cool term? Sure! But why should we pay attention to it? Why is it important? Let's start from the top...
Phytochemicals non-nutritive plant chemicals that help protect against and prevent disease.The most important job they have (arguably) is their role in helping protect and regenerate vital nutrients. The best and easiest way to make sure we're consuming a broad enough amount of phytochemicals is by... you guessed it, consuming a wide variety of colors of food! Phytochemicals provide nutrients to protect our mitochondria, but the fruits and veggies also contain vitamins and minerals that ensure proper function of our cells. If you took high school biology or are into pop culture references, you'll undoubtedly know that the Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. They turn the food we eat and air we breathe into energy (also known as ATP). If you have tissue that requires more energy (think muscle), the greater the demand placed on the Mitochondria, so the more fuel it will require.
With me so far?
Here's where ROYGBIV comes into play and we're gonna break it down for you...
Carotenoids - Responsible for the oranges, yellows and some of the reds found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, yellow, orange and red bell peppers, and tomatoes. They convert to Vitamin A, which is a strong antioxidant, which fights free radicals that are a by-product of producing ATP (energy).
Chlorophyll - Responsible for the green color we find in foods like kale, spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts, which all can play a role in Mitochondria operating properly. Example: spinach and chard provide a rich source of Magnesium. Magnesium is utilized by the mitochondria to create ATP. Manganese is another nutrient that get from our green leafy veggies. Mitochondria utilize manganese to produce manganese superoxide dismutase (say it three times fast) which is another potent antioxidant.
Anthocyanins - Flavonoids responsible for the blue, purple and deep red/blue found in foods like berries, cherries, eggplant and purple cabbage. Purple cabbage, purple cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables can provide sulfur to our system, which helps create neurotransmitters--such as GABA--which helps us transition into a state of rest and recovery. Bonus reason! Sulfur also helps keep cells healthy and avoid breakdown during oxidative stress.
Want to recover harder? See improvements in the gym and body composition? Want to just feel better in general?
Then taste the rainbow.