Many red fruits and vegetables contain powerful, healthy antioxidants (lycopene and anthocyanins) that fight prostate cancer and heart disease, decrease the risk of macular degeneration, stroke and more. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, which help turn fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy used by the body.
Red foods assist the body in getting rid of harmful toxins and free radicals, reducing high blood pressure, supporting the joint tissue and aiding the digestive process.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which gives them the red color. This carotenoid is a powerful antioxidant which decreases the risk of cancer (esophagus, prostate, and stomach) and protects the body from heart attacks. You can eat them alone, in soups, salads or sauces. They are low in calories and high in nutrients. Lycopene is most abundant when the tomatoes are cooked in soups, stews and sauces. Tomatoes also contain Vitamin C and potassium, which support skin and heart health.
Cherries are high in fiber, potassium, antioxidants and Vitamin C, so they boost the immune system and protect the body against infections and illnesses. Potassium maintains the health of the heart and keeps a lower blood pressure. Choose to consume fresh cherries in June and July, but avoid the artificially colored ones. Dried cherries are perfect to be added to cereals and trail mixes.
Cranberries are known to fight and prevent cancer, stop bacteria from spreading and sticking to the urinary tract walls, and prevent H.pylori infection which causes stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal illnesses. Cranberries are also rich in Vitamin C. You can eat them as they are or dried as a healthy snack. You can prepare a delicious juice or smoothie or add them to poultry stuffing.
Pomegranates are not only delicious, but they are also high in antioxidants and potassium which promote our health. They lower blood pressure and reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries. Consumed as juice, pomegranates can also help manage diabetes, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, and arthritis.
Beets get super-sweet when they are cooked and are very nutritious. Half a cup of cooked beets have only 29 calories, but they boast 2 grams of fiber and 19% of the necessary daily intake of folate, which we need for healthy new cells and growth. Their beautiful color is given by betanin, which boosts immunity. You can consume them roasted, pickled, or raw in juices and salads.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a powerful antioxidant that protects blood vessels, stimulates brain chemicals that make us feel less hungry and increases the metabolic rate.
Watermelon is another great source of lycopene, which prevents heart disease, decreases cholesterol and protects us from certain types of cancer. Eat as much watermelon as possible during the summer months.
These and other red foods such as strawberries, red peppers, pink grapefruit or raspberries can promote health and keep illness at bay. Although most of them are available at the supermarket all year long, try to consume them from your local market when they are in season.