Imagine a world without colour. Impossible to get your mind around it, isn’t it? Because colours have always been a fascinating part of our lives. You see them in everything.
But there’s more to colours than their simple aesthetic effect. They also affect our health in several ways – colour therapy, also known as chromatherapy, has been used in healing since ancient times. It was used through food, through coloured lights and by passing sunlight through bottles of coloured glass that contained water or oils to create charged liquids. Every colour influences a particular chakra or body energy system, and food colour is the simplest and quickest way to identify necessary foods for the body. Colours also influence emotions. For instance, people who often feel drained and tired are advised exposure to more yellows and reds. People who are always on the edge need to get more blues and greens.
Dieticians often recommend that their clients follow what is called the rainbow diet – that is, eat foods that represent all the seven colours of the rainbow. This is just a term to remind us to include a variety of foods in our diets so that we get the maximum nutrition possible. Here’s how it works.
Associated with the base chakra, the foundation of primal emotions like hunger and sex as well as physical energy. When people complain of being drained of energy, it frequently emerges that their root chakra is imbalanced.
Foods: Everything that is red, such as tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, red pepper (red shimla mirch), cherries, red apples and pomegranate (anar).
Benefits: Tomatoes contain lycopenes which have been seen to be an excellent element for skin regeneration. Lycopenes also ensure that no mutations occur during the regeneration of cells. This is important because cancers can occur when skin regeneration is short-circuited by a mutation that makes cells grow wild and uncontrollable. To get the best of the health benefits of tomatoes, eat them fresh and raw as in a salad.
Apples and anar contain vitamin A and small amounts of iron. Anar is also rich in vitamin C which is good for building immunity, skin suppleness and haemoglobin.
Symbolising strength and stability, orange correlates with the swadhishtana chakra, the second chakra in the body. This chakra maintains the body’s emotional and water balance. All the minerals, such as sodium and potassium, are linked to this chakra, so an imbalance leads to emotional upsets and also kidney problems. That’s because people who are stressed, anxious or fearful usually have blood pressure problems and water retention.
Foods: Oranges, yellow carrots, pumpkin (kaddu).
Benefits: These foods are rich in pre vitamins like alpha carotene, beta carotene and hesperidin and minerals like potassium and chromium. If you have a tendency to high blood pressure, you will benefit from eating food of this type.
Representing optimism, hope and a fresh energy, frequently associated with sports and sports people, yellow corresponds to the Manipur chakra and represents good mental strength, strong nerves and solid bone marrow (bone marrow is what stem cells are associated with).
Foods: Turmeric, mustard, yellow bell peppers, corn and pineapple.
Benefits: A variety of benefits are associated with foods of this colour including antiseptic and immunity building properties (turmeric), vitamin B complex (corn) and digestive enzymes like bromelain (good for the lungs). Asthmatics are known to benefit from foods that are yellow.
Required by the body in large quantities, green represents health and balance. It calms the nerves and helps us feel comfortable. The green colour of plants comes from chlorophyll, the lifeline of plants. This is why traditional treatments use a lot of green leafy vegetables. Green corresponds to the heart chakra, which is the seat of health, immunity, inner strength and outer courage.
Foods: Green leafy vegetables, eaten in the form of salads and soups.
Benefits: Green vegetables are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex and C, as well as calcium (spinach and broccoli) and several other minerals. Green tea is also a good source of phenols which protect the body against arthritis and cancers.
The colour of the sky and of water, blue is associated with the throat chakra. Our bodies are composed of 2/3rds water so the colour resonates with us.
Foods: Blue berries.
Benefits: Rich in polyphenols, which help prevent cancer.
Associated with the agya chakra, the seat of intuition and special powers like clairvoyance and extra sensory perception.
Foods: Jamun and olives.
Benefits: Medicinal in nature.
Linked to the sahasra chakra, the highest in the body. This is the seat of enlightenment.
Foods: Grapes and some berries. Vegetables like brinjal.
Benefits: Medicinal in nature.
- From HT Brunch, February 27
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