We’ve all heard the cliché that an apple a day, keeps the doctor away, but is the same true for a virtual abundance of red foods, counting strawberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, beets and tomatoes?
Red foods consist of everything from fruits, including watermelon, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, apples; and vegetables like tomatoes, red onions, red peppers and red cabbage. These tasty and colorful foods are gifts from nature. Don’t forget you can even get plenty of these nutrients in processed tomato products as well, salsa, spaghetti sauce and ketchup. Deeper colors, like the dark hue of beets, usually means that the vegetable is richer in these phytonutrients including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They offer many health benefits because they have some of the following nutrients- Lycopene, Ellagic acid, Quercetin, Hesperidin, fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Red vegetables get their shade and nutrition lift from Lycopene and Anthocyanin. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce heart disease risk, protect the eyes, fight infections, and protect against damage from tobacco smoke.
Many red fruits and veggies are loaded with powerful, strong antioxidants — such as Anthocyanins and Lycopene — that may do everything from fight heart disease and prostate cancer reduce the risk for stroke and macular worsening (leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older). Antioxidants soak up damaging free radicals.
Some of the major benefits of consuming Red fruits and vegetables are-
1. Reduce the risk of prostate cancer
2. Protects the body from prostate, cervical and lung cancer
3. Reduces tumor growth
4. Protects the body from harmful free-radicals
5. Defends the body against heart disease
6. Normalize blood pressure
7. Drops LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol in the body
8. Backing joint tissue for those with arthritis
9. Keeps one steady aiding in gastrointestinal health
Here are some Red fruits and vegetables that you can include in your diet:
1) Red Food: Strawberries
In season: May and June, but accessible year-round
Benefits: They are a good basis of folate, which helps heart health and is helpful for women in their childbearing years. Folic acid is known to cut the risk of certain birth flaws called neural tube defects. Strawberries are also a decent source of the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin C, which boosts immune system function among other things.
2) Red Food: Cherries
In season: June and July, but available year-round
Benefits: Cherries are high in fiber because of their skin, They are also rich in vitamin C as well as potassium, which can help maintain a lower blood pressure.
3) Red Food: Cranberries
In season: September to December, but available year-round
Benefits: Cranberries have been exposed to cause the death of cancer cells in lab studies, but that is not all these miniature, red-colored berries can do. Cranberries also can stop bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls and may also prevent H pylori, a bacteria accountable for many stomach ulcers, from penetrating to the stomach walls and causing ulcers. The nutrients accountable for this anti-sticking mechanism are named Proanthocyanidins. Cranberries also contain high amount of vitamin C.
4) Red Food: Tomatoes
In season: Summer, but available year-round
Benefits: Tomatoes are a good source of Lycopene, which is powerfully connected with prostate cancer defense. There is also some evidence that Lycopene may protect against breast cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium and vitamin C, which makes them heart healthy, too.
5) Red Food: Beets
In season: June through October, but available year-round
Benefits: Root vegetables, beets are rich in Lycopene, folate and Anthocyanins. Another powerful antioxidant, Anthocyanins are not just present in red foods, but also blue and purple foods as red and blue makes purple.
6) Red food: Raspberries
In season: August to mid-October, but available year-round
Benefits: Raspberries are high in fiber, which we know helps lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.
7) Red Food: Watermelon
In season: May through September, but available year-round
Benefits: Watermelon is a great source of Lycopene. Lycopene may decrease the risk of heart disease by decreasing LDL cholesterol. And it decreases the risk for certain cancers, primarily prostate, as well as the risk of Macular degeneration. It also improves blood vessel function and lowers stroke risk.
Remember that it’s always better to eat whole foods than take supplements of specific nutrients. “It’s the combination of everything in these red foods, not just one miracle nutrient.”