‘Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain’ – from the film Baby Driver, (mis)quoting Dolly Parton
I love rainbows – they signify new beginnings, sunshine after rain, good things to come and, perhaps most importantly, hope. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the rainbow became a symbol of hope and encouragement, of thanks to our wonderful medical and caring communities. Across the globe, the rainbow said ‘we are strong, we stand together, we will defeat this’. Children coloured in rainbows and put them in windows, huge banners adorned buildings to say thank you.
The rainbow also reflects diversity in sexuality and is the international symbol of LGBTQ+. First introduced in 1978, the unification of colours in the rainbow depict pride, defiance and hope for acceptance, respect and equal rights.
So what actually is a rainbow?
A rainbow appears as a perfect arc in the sky, usually after a rainstorm as the sun begins to shine again. The suns rays reflect on to the water droplets and shatter it’s white light into an array of colour, always in the same order. For those lucky enough to spot a rainbow from inside an aeroplane you might see the full circle but for those of us on the ground we can only see the arc above the horizon.
Occasionally a double rainbow appears which is caused by the light reflecting twice off the same rain drop. Next time you see a double rainbow, check out the colours – the order is reversed!
Where did the treasure idea come from?
Irish legend says that leprechauns hid their gold at the end of a rainbow for safe keeping. If anyone found the gold, they would be free to take a handful and would be rewarded, not only with the gold, but also with good luck. I don’t know about you but, whilst I don’t expect to find a pot of gold, I do feel better when I see a rainbow, whether it’s in the sky, on a flag or even painted on something in a shop. Rainbows make me smile and that’s good enough for me!
Eat the rainbow
We all know that eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables is good for us and health professionals cleverly used the power of the rainbow and our positive thoughts associated with it to encourage us all to eat better. Eating the rainbow simply means eating fruits and vegetables of different colours every day. Because plants contain different phytonutrients which give them their various colours, each one contains different vitamins, minerals and health benefits. By eating all the different colours you will maximize the health benefits.
Red – e.g. tomatoes, grapefruit and watermelon
Orange and yellow – e.g. carrots, pineapple and bananas
Green – e.g. broccoli, spinach and avocados
Blue and purple – e.g. aubergine/eggplant, blueberries and plums
Also, white and brown vegetables such as garlic, onions and parsnips.
So the tiny tweak this week is for us all to think about the fruit and vegetables we eat and see if we can add in something new. Which colour of the rainbow isn’t very well represented in your diet? What could you introduce? If you eat lots of different fruit and veg, challenge yourself to have one of every colour in your next meal!
If you’re lucky enough to see a rainbow this week, take time to really look at the colours and the perfect shape. Maybe it will be a reminder to count your blessings, not your problems and always remember that you can’t have a rainbow without the rain!
Until next time xx
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