Do you remember the children’s rainbow acronym, ‘ROY G. BIV’? Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet – the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven-chakra points of the body and the seven different colour’s of our food. I love it when Nature’s voice is heard so clearly.
Like a rainbow, colours are considered by many as 'frequencies of light and energy' and as such hold individual vibrations. As energetic beings we respond to colours, some more positively than others, during different seasons and different times of our lives. This is beautifully outlined by the Indian chakra system (Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism). Scientifically, colour influences our moods and emotions via the hypothalamus, which in turn affects the pituitary gland and therefore the whole endocrine (hormonal) system. For example, visually we can feel better wearing one colour more than another - I love wearing pink, red and orange. We can also, consciously and/or unconsciously choose food based on colour. Green and red colours are the most popular food choices and the most abundantly found in nature. However, less naturally occurring are blue and purple foods.
Young children are excellent at expressing their food choices through colour – “I want to eat … red”. Hearing this out of the ‘blue’ can mean anything to an adult from tomatoes to cherries, but to a small child it has an intuitive connection to how they’re feeling or want to feel. RED produce is packed with potassium, magnesium, sodium and vitamins A & C. A snack of red pepper, cherry tomatoes, red apple slices and strawberries and you’ve met their request AND given them a bowl full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Beetroot, the richest of red colours is great for the blood and evidence suggests useful for heart health. Red is the colour of the root chakra and symbolizes safety, grounding and nourishment, a lovely connection to the blood running through our veins, moving and removing products as necessary. It is considered to be very earthy, by name (root chakra) and nature. Red colour is also an appetite stimulant to the brain, Christmas over indulgence springs to mind.
For me, rich ORANGE brings connotations of sweet potato and turmeric soup, a bowl of liquid sunset. Both warming and nourishing in the colder weather, and easy on the digestive system. Orange is the colour of the sacral chakra, which is positioned over the abdomen. It is associated with creativity and emotions. We have so many sayings associated with this area – “my gut instinct” or “gut wrenching”, with deep sadness. Orange vegetables, carrots, squash, pumpkin and all the orange citrus fruits, are full of vitamins B and C, for immune health, beta-carotene (and therefore vitamin A) and antioxidants. The squash and pumpkin family also have good levels of Omega 3 and 6 important to the cell membrane and reparation. As the whole vegetable and fruit they are also fibrous, all of the above supports the digestive tract of which the second chakra sits.
YELLOW is a happy colour and immediately the joy of buttery corn on the cob comes to mind. Yellow citrus (lemons and grapefruit), yellow peppers and corgettes have a high quota of a vitamin C. The solar plexus, under the rib cage and over the stomach, resonates yellow. It is connected to intellect, mental activity and will power – “I can/can’t stomach it” comes to mind in a difficult situation. Lemons are also alkalizers for the body and nowhere are more acidic than the stomach.
The heart chakra is GREEN and harmonizes with love, relating, integrating and compassion. Magnesium, potassium, calcium, manganese, vitamin A, B, C, K and iron rich GREEN leafy vegetables are available all year round. We associate green produce with being fresh, healthy and good for us. It is the most abundant colour of vegetables and fruit available and they are high in soluble and insoluble fibre ‘green means GO’ for most people – energetically and digestively. The alkalizing ability of green vegetables helps to balance pH levels within the body and therefore moves toxins out through proper elimination routes. Generally slightly bitter or tangy, green fruit (kiwi fruit, granny smith apples and green grapes) and vegetables support the digestive process from mouth salivation through to alkalizing stomach acid and encouraging a healthy gut and ‘exit’.
Interestingly, BLUE and INDIGO vegetables are rare. Seaweeds with their blue shades are high in iodine for thyroid support. The throat chakra is positioned above the thyroid and is connected to the colour blue. The throat chakra holds the meanings of communication and self-expression. The third eye or sixth chakra is INDIGO meaning intuition and extra perception. Fruit that I would classify as indigo coloured are far more available than vegetables. Blueberries, plums, black grapes and blackberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamins C and K and manganese. (NB: Human perception, and often rightly, is quick to associate food that is blue or black as having spoilt or gone off).
VIOLET/WHITE foods are high in flavonoids and antioxidants like aubergines, purple carrots, purple broccoli, onions, garlic and cauliflower. The seventh chakra or the crown chakra connects us with the concepts of spirituality and consciousness. While a lot of violet foods are newer to our food group, white fruit and vegetables are not. - the old and the new coming together to feed us.
This is a brief touch on colour and foods connecting both to chakra points. Gripping to me is how the microcosm can be connected to the macrocosm. We are part of a bigger picture and yet are the bigger picture. We know to eat a rainbow of foods; can we eat seven different colours a day? Colours are highly emotive on many levels and are integrated with our senses and sense of self. Take note of the food colours you choose and why – how do they make you feel? Light, nourished, grounded, energized? Colour Therapy recognizes that each colour has a vibration, a musical note, a chakra point and a healing quality. Imagine mindfully consuming food for its colour AND it’s antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fibre? Give it ago there is healthy gold at the end of this rainbow.
Paula is an avid writer and enjoys working with food and words.