Interestingly, a food’s color actually tells you exactly what it is used for in the body. Science is just beginning to notice and realize that often the components of plants that have the highest medicinal properties are the colors themselves. This is fascinating research, and Chinese medicine has taught us much about how the colors of our foods cultivate health in specific areas of our bodies and the energetic components of each. The term for the color pigments in foods are appropriately termed “phytonutrients” (“fight”-o-nutrients) because it turns out that the colors in our food are what help us “fight off” disease and aging.

Armed with this information, we need to look beyond the typical nutrition label and begin considering the color and vibrancy of our food choices. As it turns out, our bodies actually have specific receptors to various food color pigments, and this is why it is critical we eat a wide variety of food colors every day. This video outlines some of this fascinating research:

Here is a breakdown of what various food colors do in the body and some of their energetic components along with a few examples of each:

Red: blood building, heart strengthening, also volatile

Examples: beets, pomegranates, tomatoes, watermelon, goji berries, hibiscus

Orange: anti-inflammatory, happiness in action

Examples: turmeric, mango, butternut squash, pumpkin, oranges

Yellow: tissue building, tissue repair, immune system development

Examples: pineapple, lemon, banana, ginger, hops, capers, mustard seeds

Green: neutralizer, deodorizer, detoxifier, liver cleanser

Examples: parsley, cilantro, kale, watercress, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, spinach, cabbage

Blue (rarest pigment to find in nature): creativity, stem cells, bone marrow, throat, thyroid

Examples: blueberries, blue-green algae, marine phytoplankton, spirulina, phycocyanin (Blue Majik)

Purple: central nervous system protector, gut nervous system protector, brain and eye nourishing

Examples: raw cacao, eggplant, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, lavender, maqui berries, açaí berries

Brown: intestines, digestive tract tonic

Examples: cumin, cloves, mushrooms, cinnamon, ginger

White: beneficial to the lungs and the immune system, tabula rasa, source energy

Examples: durian, onions, garlic, cauliflower, apples, hempseeds

Black: Jing (primordial lifeforce essence), longevity, marrow, kidneys

Examples: chia seeds, coffee, black tea, he shou wu, eucommia, cistanche, blackberries, black olives, black grapes


What are some of your favorite colorful foods to eat?