Are you in need of some sunshine? Why not take some inspiration from the next article in our food color series, on yellow fruits, veggies and condiments. These yellow colored foods are not just as bright as the sunshine but also a healthy jar of happiness for your body that can fill you with a summer glow all year round.
What Makes Yellow Food Glow?
Yellow foods get their color from the biological pigments they contain. The two most common groups are carotenoids, which give a deep orange or yellow color; and anthocyanins, which give a pale yellow color.
Carotenoids are responsible for the deep yellow coloring from the crocin molecule in saffron and curcumin in tumeric. These compounds have antioxidant properties that protect the plants, and can also impart health benefits to us in our diets.
Natural food coloring based on plant pigments is often replaced in commercial and processed foods with synthetic colorings. However, the popularity of natural colors used by our ancestors for generations is returning, particularly for yellow foods.
The synthetic yellow food coloring, Tartrazine (also known as Yellow 5) has been linked to attention deficits in children who consume high levels in the diet, meaning that conscientious brands are leaning towards using natural yellow colors instead.
The List: 30 Yellow Foods
1. Asian Pears
Asian pears, also known as the Japanese pear, Korean pear, Taiwan pear and more, are an apple like fruit but with an aromatic and sweet tart flavor. These uniformly yellowish-tan fruit belong to the Rosaceae or rose family.
This type of pear is an adequate source of vitamin C and antioxidants, that supports your immune system and provides collagen that is needed for maintenance of healthy skin. They also have a high fiber content to keep your digestive system happy, and are a good source of vitamin K.
Forget the phrase “an apple a day” – bananas are what the doctor ordered to keep your body in top health. This family favorite is a curvy yellow fruit from the flowering tropical plant of the Musaceae family, which can provide you with your daily supply of vitamins and minerals.
Packed with potassium, antioxidants and pectin, bananas also come with a healthy dose of magnesium, vitamin C and B6. You have reason enough to fall in love with bananas as they help keep your heart healthy and protect you from hypertension.
Butter must be one of your best friends if you love baking, and this rich dairy ingredient gives every food that savory taste. Butter is made out of the fat and protein components of milk or cream. In general, its color ranges from pale yellow to deep yellow to white due to annatto or carotene.
Butter is approximately 80% fat, which is why is has a reputation for being linked to a risk of weight gain and heart disease, although some studies contradict this belief. Taken in moderation, butter is a good source of vitamin A and also high in vitamins D, E, B12 and K2.
Another yellow-colored dairy product on the list, cheese must be one of the widely used products in cooking worldwide. It is made by coagulating the protein casein from cow, buffalo, goat or sheep milk. Annatto can be added to make the cheese yellow to red in color. It adds a rich flavor and texture to cooking, and can bring a hint of saltiness, savory or tangy depending on the cheese you choose to use.
Cheese can supply you with high amounts of calcium and protein but it can also be high in calories, sodium and saturated fat depending on the variety. One to be enjoyed in moderation, perhaps.
5. Chrysanthemum Flower Tea
Chrysanthemums don’t just look pretty in your garden: they make a healthy tea that has been used for generations as a traditional medicine, particularly in China. It is said to help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure, as well as inducing a state of calm to settle nerves and anxiety. It is a rich source of minerals including potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium and iron.
Corn, also known as maize or sweetcorn, is the most important crop in United States and a staple food for a number of places around the world. This yellow corn from the domesticated cereal plant Poaceae was first grown by native communities in Mexico and America. This yellow food has roles outside of the kitchen, as it is used for livestock feed, biofuel and even as a traditional Autumn harvest decoration in the US.
Corn is a good source of your B vitamins, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate. It is also a great dietary fiber food source with essential minerals, magnesium plus phosphorus.
Did you know that cornflakes were invested as a breakfast cereal in the 1870s! This morning favorite is made of corn grits that are rolled, cooked, dried and toasted, ready to be served with milk to keep hunger at bay. Although the cereal can contain a range of vitamins from the corn, it often comes with a lot of added sugar and is low in fiber because of the processing it has undergone. Nevertheless, cornflakes can still be part of a healthy diet, particularly if eaten with fruit as part of a balanced breakfast.
This large thorn covered fruit is known for its strong odor, which has been described as smelling like rotting flesh! But ask any durian fan, and you’ll hear that this pale yellow fruit actually tastes really good.
Durian is a unique fruit, popularly called the “king of fruits” in Southeast Asia. It is packed full of fiber, vitamins B and C, and contains more nutrients than most other fruits. Still, it has the ability to divide friends and family alike: when it comes to durian, you either love it or you hate it!
Eggs earn their place on the list of yellow foods for their bright, yellow-orange yolks which lend color to the dishes they are used in. From omelet to scrambled egg to lemon curd, egg-based dishes come in a range of shades of yellow.
Even the yolks of different eggs have different colors, which many people assume is related to the type of chicken that they come from. In fact, it has little to do with the breed of chicken and everything to do with her diet: hens who eat foods rich in carotenoids, like grass, maize and flowers, will produce eggs with dark yellow to orange yolks, while those who eat a diet based on wheat and barley will produce egg yolks that are so pale they are almost white.
Nutritionally, eggs make an important contribution to our diets: they are a great source of protein, good cholesterol and omega 3 fatty acids. As well as providing a heap of nutrients, eggs are also filling and can help in a weight-loss diet by helping you stave off hunger pangs that could lead to unhealthy snack choices.
This yellow fruit, commonly known as Canistel, earns the name “eggfruit” because its bright yellow flesh has the texture of a hard-boiled egg yolk. The plant belongs to the Sapotaceae family, making it a relative of sapodilla and the Mamey sapote. Eggfruit has a neutral sweet taste with hints of sweet potato, pumpkin, mango and some more tropical fruits. This yellow food is a rich source of beta carotene and provides you with a good dose of calcium and phosphorus for your bones and teeth.
11. French Fries
There’s no doubt that golden fries are a worldwide favorite, but these potato sides are usually considered bad for you and come with a decent helping of guilt! While nutritionists are agreed that we should limit our intake of fried food, research on blood parameters in children offered French fries versus other forms of carbohydrate found that fries can actually help produce lower blood glucose levels and insulin levels. Good to know!
12. Golden Zucchini
Zucchini, also known as courgette or baby marrow, is a type of summer squash that is eaten while the skin and seeds are still edible. The golden zucchini has a deep yellow or orange color. It lends itself to a healthy diet as it is low in energy while still providing a good source of folate, potassium and pro-vitamin A.
Honey is a natural sweetener made by honey bees from floral nectar or honeydew. With its unique flavor, it has low levels of fat, dietary fiber and protein but is an excellent supply of antioxidants to tackle heart disease and prevent the development of some cancers.
Honey has long been used in traditional medicine to treat wounds and burns, as it kills bacteria and promotes healing; modern medicine has returned to the healing powers of honey in recent decades, and Manuka honey is now a popular wound treatment in clinics.
This large, spikey fruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is a large fruit, weighing up to 100 pounds, a yellow flesh and edible seeds and pods. When ripe, jackfruit has a sweet flavor and a similar texture to pineapple, while unripe jackfruit is used in savory cooking and is a popular substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes. It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and some important vitamins and minerals to help keep your body healthy.
This bright yellow citrus fruit has a sharp, acidic juice full of vitamin C and antioxidants. The sour flavor is particularly well matched to fish dishes, and lemon is traditionally used to marinade fish and meats to tenderize the flesh and neutralize strong smells.
The health benefits of lemons include strengthening your immune system due to its high vitamin content, as well as regulating blood pressure and helping in weight loss. Lemon juice has properties outside of cooking: its acidic nature helps it cut through grease and makes it a great cleaning agent, and it is also used to lighten blonde hair.
These Asian-native fruits are from the Dimocarpus longan plant, commonly known as longan. They are covered with a yellow skin and have a white, sweet, juicy flesh inside similar to lychees.
This tropical fruit is high in antioxidants and also contains vitamin C. It is used in traditional cooking across China and other Asian countries in which it is found, including desserts, puddings and even bread! For a healthy, easy and luxurious treat on a hot day, these fruit can be frozen whole and eaten like popsicles.
Longan fruit and seeds have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, for a variety of diseases. While some of its traditional roles, such as extracting snake venom from a bite wound, have failed to stand up to scientific testing, research on longan extracts has demonstrated that both the fruit and seeds have anti-cancer properties and may play a role in treating diabetes.
This unusual yellow fruit is a member of the Rosaceae family that is native in South Central part of China, and is known by several names such as Japanese medlar, Japanese plum and Chinese plum. It has a smooth yellow or orange skin with a juicy, sour-ish and sometimes sweet flesh depending on the cultivar. Loquat is a healthy addition to your diet, being high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, potassium and manganese and low in sodium.
This yellow tropical fruit is widely cultivated across its native range of South and South-East Asian tropics. The fruit has a leathery skin which is waxy and fragrant with color commonly ranging from green to yellow with hints of pink or red depending on the type. Inside, the flesh is sweet, sour and has a somewhat fibrous texture. Mango is a fantastic source of prebiotic dietary fiber, flavonoids such as β-carotene, α-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin, vitamins A, B6, C and E as well as potassium.
Mango can be eaten fresh or dried, and is a common breakfast food. The unripe fruit is also used in Asian cooking such as adding a sour kick to chili sauce such as Indonesian sambal.
19. Mirabelle Plum
While plums are generally thought of as being purple in color, this yellow variety is known for its sweet and full flavor. The fresh fruit has a tangy taste, and yellow Mirabelle plums are also used for preserves and pies. The juice of the Mirabelle plum is fermented for wine and distilled to produce brandy. These plums contain an excellent level of potassium and vitamin C to help support your heart and a healthy immune system.
This yellow condiment is one of our favorite sauces for sausages, salads and meats. The sauce gets its name from its core ingredient, which is seeds from the mustard plant, which give it its spicy kick. Other ingredients including vinegar, lemon juice and salt are added to create the varieties of mustard condiments that we can choose from today.
Mustard seeds are said to contain selenium and omega 3 fatty acids, so you can rest assured that your favorite sauce is providing you with some nutrients as well as a bang of flavor.
21. Olive Oil
Olive oil may have different shades depending on its quality but it usually ranges from green to yellow. As one of the main components of a Mediterranean diet, olive oil is a source of plenty of nutrients that support our health like omega 5 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins A, D, K and E. Eaten in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, it is good for your heart and your memory.
Olive oil also has good effect on your skin, and some beauty products and massage oils use olive oil as one of the ingredients.
22. Passion Fruit
These tropical fruits are members of the Passifloraceae or Passion Flower family of plants. Their fruits have a thick skin, which can be purple and bumpy or yellow-orange and smooth, depending on the variety. Inside, the yellow pulp surrounds hundreds of black seeds. The fruit tastes sweet and acidic, and is full of riboflavin, niacin and amino acids.
23. Peter’s Honey Fig
This type of fig is has a delicate yellow skin and lusciously sweet flesh. The taste has been described as having a syrupy and honey-like flavor. This fruit is well packed with calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, antioxidants, and vitamins B and K. As with all figs, they also contain a high level of fiber, perfect for your digestive health.
Pineapples are famous the world-over, and are the third most produced tropical fruit in the world. This yellow fruit is primarily made for export in Hawaii, Costa Rica, Brazil and the Philippines. As well as its role as a fresh fruit, pineapple is a common cooking ingredient in dishes as diverse as Italian pizza, Filipino hamonado, Thai kaeng som pla and Hawaiian haystacks. The juice is a refreshing source of vitamins and anti-oxidants, and cuts of the fruit can be added to your desserts and drinks.
Rutabaga, known in other parts of the world as Swede, or Swedish turnip, gets its name from the Swedish word “rotabagge.” This root vegetable usually has pale yellow flesh and a purple tinge to the skin. The taste resembles the flavor of cabbage but has a slightly sweet edge. Rutabagas contain high amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamins C and E, as well as moderate levels of vitamin B and folate. Mashed or roasted, these veggies make a great side-dish whilst being lower in carbs than the potato alternatives.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice – not a surprise when you consider it takes 75,000 saffron flowers to make just one pound of the spice. Although originally thought to be from Greece, today around 90% of commercial saffron is produced in Iran.
This spice is rich in antioxidants, and saffron gets its deep color from the carotenoid pigment in its flowers, crocin, which imparts a golden-yellow hue to dishes. The chemical ingredients of saffron have been researched for their health benefits, which may include controlling hunger and helping in weight loss.
This sunshine yellow, unusually shaped fruit is also called carambola. It is native to tropical Southeast Asia, has a sweet and sour taste and it is shaped like a star when sliced. Starfruit is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C but it also contains a high level of oxalates. If you have kidney problems it is best to consult a doctor first before consuming this fruit because the oxalates could cause toxicity.
28. Yellow Rice
Yellow rice is a staple part of traditional cooking around the world. From Moroccan yellow rice flavored with ginger and saffron, and Spanish Arroz Amarillo, to the rich Indian biryani and Indonesian nasi kuning, made with coconut milk, these dishes usually gain their color from tumeric or saffron added during the cooking process. This staple carbohydrate has all the benefits of complex carbs as well as the added nutrients and antioxidants in the spices it is cooked with.
29. Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is another variety of summer squash that has soft, thin edible skin. Although it is related to the Golden zucchini, yellow squash has a characteristic neck like standard squash fruit. Yellow squash can be grilled, roasted or even consumed raw. It’s flavor ranges from sweet to nut-like depending on the variety.
30. Yukon Gold Potatoes
While many potatoes can have a yellowish tinge to their flesh, the yellowest of them all is the Yukon gold potato. This variety was developed in Ontario, Canada, in the 1960s, and is characterized by its thin, smooth and eye-free skin with yellow tinged flesh. This potato is high in vitamin C and potassium, and is versatile for use in all potato dishes including unbeatable mash and roast potatoes.