Let’s have some fun and start a Rainbow Diet.

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In our healthy diet blog series, we started with low S.O.S. (salt, oil, sugar) and healthy plate. In this blog, we will look at a diet that makes healthy eating more fun, the Rainbow Diet.


Background of Rainbow Diet

In general, the Rainbow Diet is categorised according to the colour of the foods, in particular vegetables and fruits. It is not limited to the 7 colours of the rainbow, but it includes other colours such as white, brown, and black.


The concept of Rainbow Diet was first introduced by Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D. in 1986. He related a full spectrum of chakras to different foods, and organised them according to morning, midday, and evening. The morning starts with red, orange, yellow foods. Midday follows yellow, green, blue foods. Evening takes blue, indigo, purple foods.


In 2018, nutritionist Dr. Deanna Minich, Ph.D. redefined the Rainbow Diet and transformed it as a colourful and intuitive system for choosing your diet and living a holistic way. She organised the range of colours and consolidated body, psychology, eating, and living into one concept.

Variety of colourful vegetables


Subsequently, the Rainbow Diet is further simplified to only follow foods with the same colour groups, which happen to contain the same phytochemicals and deliver the same health-beneficial effects (Figure 1).

The Rainbow Diet
Figure 1: Summary of the Rainbow Diet and the examples of foods.

TCM’s 5-colours diet

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is also a set of colours that derived from 5 elements (Figure 2). The elements then relate to corresponding colours, organs, foods, and health benefits. This concept is more well-defined but with slight variations as compared to Rainbow Diet because the TCM knowledge emerged way before the discovery of phytochemicals. There is no right or wrong in either concept as the human body is a complex system.

TCM's 5-elements and 5-colours grouping
Figure 2: TCM's colour diet that derived from 5 elements.

What’s the message behind?

Be it Rainbow Diet or TCM’s 5-colours diet, the main message here is to encourage you to eat wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits instead of processed and preserved foods. Where, most of the time, the colours and nutritional values of the processed and preserved foods would have changed or disintegrated.


If you understand the concept of TCM’s 5 elements and its productive-destructive-exhaustive cycle, you will be able to appreciate the TCM’s concept of a balanced diet. Whereby, excess or imbalances in any element will negatively impact the corresponding element down the cycle.



As you can probably tell, Rainbow Diet is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It has its strengths and weaknesses:

  • This is a high fibre diet with all sorts of vegetables and fruits. It helps to keep digestive system healthy, lower blood pressure, and reduces the risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. However, high-fibre diet also brings about gastrointestinal discomfort, such as intestinal gas, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation.
  • You may be thinking that eating just vegetables and fruits has no protein. This is not entirely true. Raw vegetables taken in the form of salad have the food enzymes remain intact. Many of these enzymes are actually the source of amino acid that your body can absorb. Of course, if you are comparing it with meat, fish, milk, and egg, the protein quantity may be insignificant.
Eating colourful foods can be quite fun!
  • All these foods must be taken balanced and consumed in moderation. You should not be eating too much foods of a certain colour groups and avoid some other colours.  Rainbow Diet serves as a recommendation for variety of nutrient intakes, but it doesn’t prevent you to consume anything else other than fruits and vegetables. Prolonged imbalanced diet can eventually cause malnutrition, slow down your metabolism, cause fatigue, and affect your overall immunity.
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