Have you ever felt like eating the rainbow? Well, not really, but colourful foods have a positive effect on the mind and also provide proper nutrition.1,2 The beautiful colours of the fruits and vegetables indicate their richness in different bioactive compounds, vitamins, minerals and many other essential components.1,2
A diet with varied and coloured foods can help in the management of dyslipidaemia.1 This article highlights the importance of diverse and colourful foods in dyslipidaemia.
What is dyslipidaemia?
Dyslipidaemia is a condition that affects the metabolism of lipoproteins. It results in increased levels of total serum cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, triglycerides and decreased levels of high-density lipoproteins.3 Dyslipidaemia puts you at a greater risk of narrowing of heart blood vessels that leads to ischaemic heart disease and other heart problems.3
What type of diet is recommended in dyslipidaemia?
Lifestyle and dietary interventions are useful in the management of dyslipidaemia.1 Eating a variety of colourful foods is an easy and healthy way to acquire the minerals, vitamins and antioxidants vital for the body.2 The following dietary changes are recommended for managing dyslipidaemia:
- Reduce saturated and trans fats and cut down on cholesterol-containing foods.4
- Increase the intake of soluble fibres.4
- Cut down foods high in carbohydrates.2,4
- Include antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering foods in your daily diet2,4
What is the role of colourful and varied foods in managing dyslipidaemia?
Eating colourful fruits and vegetables induces satisfaction, happiness, creativity, and curiosity, and reduces psychological distress. Not only that, the intake of such foods also plays a role in keeping us physically healthy. Most plant-derived foods contain more than one coloured pigment with their colour density depending on the types of phytonutrients present in them. A few examples are as follows:
- Foods containing carotenoids have an orange colour2
- Foods rich with flavonoids have purple- and yellow-coloured pigments2,5
- Foods with chlorophyll are green in colour.2
- Foods that contain lycopene are red in colour.2
Some scientific studies have demonstrated that the increased intake of phytochemicals from a variety of fruits and vegetables prevents weight gain, reduces weight, improves lipids and lowers the risk of hypertension, for example, white- and deep orange-coloured fruits and vegetables decreased the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, while red-coloured foods such as tomatoes lead to reduced lipid markers.1,2 Such a diet would also be high in fibre, low in calories and have an adequate nutritive value.1,2 Varied and colourful foods are rich in macronutrients, micronutrients and energy density; hence, they can help in managing dyslipidaemia without increasing calories.1
A few colourful and varied foods that are useful in dyslipidaemia are:
- Soluble fibres from foods such as soy, oats and barley reduce the cholesterol concentration.5
- Soybean, beans and other legumes provide vegetable proteins, which are useful for lowering cholesterol.5
- Grapes, cocoa, cinnamon and cranberries are colourful foods that are rich in polyphenols, which reduce cholesterol by their antioxidant property and have the ability to inhibit endogenous cholesterol synthesis.5
- Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which has proven benefits in maintaining a healthy lipid profile.5
- Garlic and onion are known to contain phytoconstituents and increase the good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol.5
Research suggests that the significance of a varied diet is its nutrient density and nutrient diversity. It has a considerable impact on health problems as compared to a less varied diet.2
Choose diverse, colourful and healthy foods to keep your cholesterol under control. Fill your life with the colours of good health.
- Schwellnus MP, Patel DN, Nossel C, Dreyer M, Whitesman S, Derman W. Healthy lifestyle interventions in general practice. Part 8: Lifestyle and dyslipidaemia. S Afr Fam Pract. 2009;51(6):453-460. doi: 10.1080/20786204.2009.10873903.
- Minich DM. A review of the science of colorful, plant-based food and practical strategies for “Eating the Rainbow”. J Nutr Metab. 2019 Jun 2;(2):1-19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2125070.
- Ahmed, SM, Clasen, ME, Donnelly, JE. Management of dyslipidemia in adults. Am Fam Physician. 1998 May 1;57(9):2192-2204, 2207-8.
- Kelly, RB. Diet and exercise in the management of hyperlipidemia. Am Fam Physician. 2010 May 1;81(9):1097-102.
- Rosa Cde O, dos Santos CA, Leite JIA, Caldas APS, Bressan J. Impact of nutrients and food components on dyslipidemias: what is the evidence? Adv Nutr. 2015 Nov 13;6(6):703-11. doi: 10.3945/an.115.009480.