Go for the rainbow - Food for the Brain

Go for the rainbow

You’ve heard it before but did it really sink in? The trick is to really start thinking of the colours you’re eating and gravitate towards the strong colours.


Mustard and turmeric, for example, are strong yellows. Dijon mustard is great – no sugar. But if you like good old fashioned English mustard go for it. Have a teaspoon every other day.

Add turmeric to almost any steam-fry, curry, soup. You can even make a turmeric latté. But watch out. It stains clothes and even cups if you don’t wash them up quickly. As with all herbs and spices, quality is also important.

Bright oranges include butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots – but do try to buy organic wherever possible. Intensively produced carrots can be tasteless and full of water. Carrot tops are good in salads and made into pesto for drizzling on soup.

Tomatoes are particularly good for you and one of the few vegetables (fruit, really) that benefit, nutritionally from light cooking. Buy seeded, not seedless watermelons. Blend the flesh in a blender, perhaps with some ice. The black husk of the seeds drops to the bottom. The flesh of the seeds, full of essential nutrients, becomes part of this mouth-wateringly refreshing drink. Strawberries are a low GL fruit. Red, yellow, green and orange peppers are all rich in vitamin C.

©Patrick Holford

Anything purple, magenta or blue is especially good for you. From beetroots (eat them raw, grated into salads) to blueberries, blackberries, raspberries.

Strong greens are always good for you – from spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, tender stem, watercress, rocket, asparagus, artichoke, green beans, peas, kohlrabi, and cauliflower (although not green). If you have an airfryer, brussels sprouts are a crispy treat, as are green beans!

If there’s anything on this list you’ve NEVER eaten, buy some now and experiment. If there’s anything on this list you haven’t had for more than two weeks, get some and give it a go.

Almost everything can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.

Here’s a quick win for kale or spinach. Melt a tablespoon of coconut butter or olive oil in a wide steam fry pan with a lid (or a frying pan with a lid). Add a clove of crushed garlic per person. Stir in a packet (300g) of kale or spinach for a minute. Then add a pre-mixed dessertspoon each of lemon juice, water and tamari (soya sauce). The whole mixture steams and sizzles. Put the lid on, turn the heat down low and leave to cook for 2 minutes. You can sprinkle on some pine nuts, or add pesto when you add the leaves to add more flavour and antioxidants.