Eating the Colours of the Rainbow is eating different fruits and Vegetables.
This also means eating different Vitamins and Minerals from fruits and Vegetables.
The Nutrition Section of the Ministry of Health Samoa is campaigning to promote the idea to various schools especially the community.
The Ministry of Health is actively promoting healthy eating and better lifestyle through nutrition promotion programmes, vegetable gardens and other projects aiming to change the eating habits of Samoan people and to combat health problems associated with increase in non-communicable diseases.
The Ministry recommends eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis or at least 35 servings a week.
According to the Samoa Demographic and Health Survey 2014, it showed that number of Men and Women consumed less than 10 servings per week this equates to eating 1 serving per day, which is significantly lower than the 5+ servings per day recommended by the Nutrition Section of the Ministry of health.
These findings are similar with the Non communicable Disease Risk Factors STEPS Report 2014, which showed that the study population eats less than the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
On a National level, these numbers are quite disturbing in light of the increasingly obesity and lifestyle related NCDs seen in the population.
Therefore, the Nutrition Section of the Ministry of health continually promote fruits and vegetables through eating the Colors of the Rainbow.
Fruit and vegetables fall into five different colour categories: red, purple/blue, orange, green and white/brown.
Fruits and Vegetables are rich with Vitamins and Minerals and Each colour carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colour and of course some of their healthy properties.
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.
The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid called Betacarotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Another carotenoid called lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.
Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.
White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.