What Is A Rainbow Diet? 5 Ways It Can Help Weight Loss Goals
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Have you ever heard of the expression “eat a rainbow”? If you haven’t, then the concept of a Rainbow Diet will come as a huge surprise to you. The first reaction you may have here is of course associated with the word “diet”, which, for those with weight loss goals, only ever means reducing the amount you eat to restrict calorie intake and focus more on nutrient-dense healthy foods. But no, that’s simply not the point of the Rainbow Diet. Instead, as the name suggests, this diet is all about including all the colours of the rainbow in your diet to reap plenty of health benefits—weight loss included. 

But does that mean you can eat just about anything colourful as a part of a Rainbow Diet? No, the focus here is specifically on colourful fruits and vegetables that fit in with the idea of VIBGYOR, meaning fresh foods that are violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red in colour—and all other colours within the spectrum too, including white, brown, deep red, etc. The idea behind the Rainbow Diet is to consume all the fruits and vegetables that fit in with the colours of the rainbow every single day to gain a variety of phytonutrients. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Rachna's Kitchen

Phytonutrients And The Rainbow Diet: What Science Says 

What are phytonutrients, you ask? Well, all plant-based foods and especially fruits and veggies contain pigments that give their skin and flesh their signature colours—like purple brinjals, green okras, orange oranges and red apples. Scientifically speaking, these pigments are called phytonutrients, and each phytonutrient not only provides plant-based foods with their signature colour but also a specific set of nutrients and health benefits. 

So, while eating fruits and vegetables has always been considered a very healthy idea, eating all the colours of a rainbow every day in a Rainbow Diet ensures that you get all the phytonutrients your body could possibly need. According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecules in 2022, phytonutrients are known to “improve health through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiallergic, chemoprotective, neuroprotective, hypolipidemic and hypotensive properties.” 

The study explains that despite the World Health Organization (WHO) and myriads of health experts recommending that more fresh fruits and vegetables should be added to everybody’s diets, 78% of the world’s adult population does not consume their daily recommended servings, leading to something called the “phytonutrient gap”. The Rainbow Diet focuses on helping people overcome this phytonutrient gap by getting these bioactive pigments from various colourful fruits and veggies. 

Here are the colours of fresh fruits and veggies as per the Rainbow Diet and the phytonutrients you can get from each.  

Red: Lycopene from vitamin A is the main phytonutrient, but these fruits and vegetables are also packed with vitamin C, vitamin K1, folate and potassium. Dark red foods like beetroot are also rich in another phytonutrient called betalains. 

Orange and Yellow: These foods are packed with phytonutrients called carotenoids, which include beta carotene, alpha carotene and beta cryptoxanthin. These are also loaded with dietary fibre, folate, potassium, vitamin C, etc. 

Green: Green leafy vegetables are packed with phytonutrients called chlorophyll and carotenoids, while cruciferous green vegetables have indoles, isothiocyanates and glucosinolates. Greens are also packed with dietary fibre, folate, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin K1. 

Blue and Purple: From blueberries to eggplant, these colourful fruits and veggies are rich in the phytonutrient called anthocyanins. They are also packed with dietary fibre, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin K1. 

White and Brown: From garlic and cauliflower to mushrooms and potatoes, all white and brown fruits and vegetables are packed with a class of phytonutrients called anthoxanthins, which include flavonols and allicin. This apart, these foods also have dietary fibre, folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin K1. 

The Rainbow Diet For Weight Loss 

Given the fact that the Rainbow Diet is packed with fresh fruits and vegetables that are loaded with phytonutrients, the idea that it can benefit your weight loss goals is but obvious. Now, if you are wondering how exactly following the Rainbow Diet can help with weight loss, here are five reasons you should know about. 

1. Low-Calorie Density: Most vegetables and fruits are low in calories but high in the volume of water and dietary fibre. This means that even if you eat plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables in a day, you will still be able to maintain a calorie-restrictive diet, which can indeed lead to weight loss when paired with regular exercise. 

2. High Nutrient Density: Rainbow-coloured foods, as mentioned before, are rich in not only phytonutrients but also plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So, eating these regularly and in their freshest forms can help your immune system function properly and keep your body and mind healthy as you stay on track for your weight loss goals. 

3. Digestion And Satiety: All the fruits and vegetables included in the Rainbow Diet, no matter what their colour, are packed with dietary fibre. This nutrient not only adds bulk to stool and keeps both digestion and bowel movements healthy, but also improves satiety. What better way to ensure your weight loss journey continues properly? 

4. Hydration: Most colourful fruits and vegetables have a high water content, which also helps with overall hydration levels in the body. Did you know that dehydration can lead to lethargy and that thirst is often mistaken for hunger by the body? So, adequate hydration can keep your energy levels high while also regulating your hunger cues. 

5. No Intake Of Processed Food: One of the best benefits of following a Rainbow Diet for weight loss is that since it completely focuses on fresh, seasonal and colourful fruits and vegetables to nourish the body and keep you full, there is very little chance that processed foods or even refined foods can sneak into your diet. What a way to indulge in colourful plates of food while staying on point with your weight loss journey.