Our ancestors had it right when they stressed the importance of variety in our diets and back then, you would likely find a range of colours on your dinner plate which represented a range of nutrients. But why do we really need variety? There are two main reasons:
- Each whole food contains a different set of nutrients that our body needs.
- Eating a variety of foods prevents the onset of food sensitivities and allergies and therefore paves the way for better absorption of each of the foods we consume.
Let me explain my second point. Each type of food calls upon a particular set of digestive enzymes to digest it. If those digestive enzymes are continually called upon and your digestive system is not strong (as is often the case these days), the particular digestive enzymes needed to digest your favourite food will wear out. It is no coincidence that the top allergens in North America are dairy and wheat – the two foods that we consume the most. Each time we eat wheat, in our breakfast (toast), lunch (sandwich) and dinner (pasta), we use the same digestive enzyme to break down the wheat. If we start to experience bloating or fatigue or maybe even acquire celiac disease, these are all signs that our digestive enzymes for wheat are not working properly. This is why digestive enzymes are being taken in supplement form, more and more often these days.
So, when you are preparing a meal for yourself or your family, you want to see a range of foods and a range of colours on the plate you prepare. Let me give you some examples of certain coloured foods and the aspects of health to which they contribute: