Eat a rainbow - A colourful guide to vitamins and minerals

There are so many vitamins on health store shelves these days, so here's a quick guide to help you choose the right ones for you.

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Trying to consume a nutritionally complete diet can be very challenging.  But don’t feel daunted - once you understand that some coloured foods are generally associated with a certain vitamin or mineral it will put you in a better place to achieve your goals.

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Vitamin B6 - Red

Vitamin B6 comes from a family of eight B vitamins.  All of these are water soluble which means the body does not produce it and relies on the diet to supply it.  One of B6’s roles is in helping produce red blood cells so the colour link is easy to remember.  Get your daily dose through foods such as bell peppers, red cabbage, radicchio and red potatoes.

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Vitamin C = yellow/orange

When we think of vitamin C we tend to cast our mind to acidic tastes like oranges and lemons.  However, there are sweet fruits that also contain this important skin and cell protector such as apricots and honeydew melon.  Don’t forget yellow peppers too which are low in calories due to their high water content.

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Vitamin K and iron = green

There has been a rising trend over the past few years of people eating more kale.  It is not surprising really as this is a versatile veg that can be baked, juiced or cooked, and is a good source of vitamin K and iron among other vitamins and minerals.  Other green veggies that contain both include broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts.

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Vitamin A = orange

Orange vegetables are generally high in carotene which gets turned into vitamin A in the body.  Found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, orange peppers and pumpkin, this vitamin is important for good eye health.  It is also found in mangoes and nectarines, but don’t be fooled by citrus fruits; the likes of oranges and satsumas are low in vitamin A, but are high in vitamin C.

Image: @myvitamins

Potassium = white

The mineral potassium is known for regulating the balance of fluid in the body, muscle contractions and the impulses of nerves. Most people know that a good source of potassium can be found in bananas but it can also be found in potatoes, parsnips, white beans and onions.

In summary, Simon Bandy, General Manager at Health Plus says: “Many fruits and vegetables actually contain more than one vitamin or mineral, like blackberries, which are also a good source of vitamin C. You can maximise your nutritional intake by eating as many of your foods in their raw and natural state, or by steaming them. Over-cooking depletes them of nutrients. If you don’t eat a balanced diet or think you might be lacking essential nutrients, speak with your GP or try a daily supplement to boost levels.”

Feature image: @humnutrition

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