We often hear “eat your greens” but never really hear much about eating your reds! Find out why you should add more fruits that are red to your diet along with those healthy red vegetables.
The Importance Adding More Red Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet
Why We Need to Eat Our Fruits that Are Red!
Did you know that most of the problems in our bodies can be healed by proper nutrition?
Not nearly enough people are aware of the fact that the foods they consume will have a direct effect on the quality of their health. However, more and more evidence is being made known with regards to how beneficial it can be to consume red foods such as bell peppers, red onions, cherries, pomegranates, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, red beets, strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes, cranberries and red grapes.
We constantly hear about eating our leafy greens – but hey, what about our reds!
What’s in Red Foods that’s So Important?
The compound Lycopene is found in most red fruits and vegetables and much research has been done on its properties and the overall health benefits that it can provide. Not only can lycopene help reduce the possibility of heart attacks and strokes occurring; this powerful compound can also help prevent damage from being done to the DNA found in white blood cells because it helps boost the body’s natural defenses against anti-oxidants as well. Lycopene has been shown to help reduce systolic blood pressure and prevent LDL cholesterol from being deposited in arteries as well.
The benefits of this compound don’t stop there though. It has been suggested that the lycopene found in many red foods may be of benefit to those suffering from infertility in that it has been shown to boost sperm count in men. It can also help prevent the onset of diabetes, while playing a role in preventing the onset of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lycopene can help prevent skin from aging prematurely and it can help prevent sunburn as well. There is even evidence showing that it may have the ability to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Another compound found in red foods that provides tremendous health benefits is resveratrol. A study done in Canada a few years ago indicated that resveratrol can provide similar benefits to the muscle and skeletal systems as that of endurance training. In addition, it can help you feel more energetic, which will in turn help enhance cardiac function. Consuming high amounts of red fruits and vegetables can help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease and a French study has revealed that this powerful ingredient can help prevent the production of cancer cells.
Resveratrol has been shown to help improve blood flow to the brain as well, which means that consuming those grapes or red wine can help sharpen your cognitive skills tremendously. This nutrient helps protect the lining of artery walls, which in turn will prevent the occurrence of heart attacks and/or strokes.
Vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E can help to fight off illnesses and infections.
Along with the above mentioned benefits, consuming red fruits and vegetables can help reduce the amount of inflammation that is present in the body, which could go a long way in helping to prevent the onset of other health conditions. Reducing the amount of inflammation in the body can help prevent the onset of various forms of arthritis and other joint-related conditions as well. Additionally, the potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K that are found in many of these fruits and vegetables help build the immune system.
Healthy amounts of potassium helps to control blood pressure.
Well, there you have it – there has never been a better time to start incorporating red fruits and vegetables into your diet each day. Most health experts recommend that at least 3 to 5 servings of fruit and vegetables be consumed every day for optimal health, and ensuring that some of these are red will help keep you in good health for many years to come. Greens are Great But Don’t Forget the Reds!
Add the Following Fruits that Are Red and Nutritious Red Vegetables to your Diet:
Cherries are a powerhouse of antioxidants. Cherries have also been known to promote better sleep. Find a good quality bottle of “tart cherry” juice at your grocery store and sip on this at bedtime. Eat fresh cherries right out of the bag or add to your green salad with some sliced cucumber and blue cheese.
Red Bell Pepper –
Red Bell Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C and can easily be added to so many of our favorite dishes. Try adding diced red pepper to your salad or omelettes.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene and cherry tomatoes have some of the highest levels of this compound. Another great source of lycopene is tomato paste. Tomato paste is just tomatoes that have been cooked down for hours to form a concentrated paste. Cooked tomatoes are higher in nutrition that raw tomatoes. Stir tomato paste into your fresh soups and sauces. Drink low sodium V8 juice or regular tomato juice.
The mighty strawberry is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and a whole lot more. This is such a popular fruit that events and festivals are planned around their coming into season. Load up a bowl with sliced fresh strawberries and top with your favorite healthy Greek yogurt. Eat sliced strawberries on pancakes and on top of your cereal. How to Grow Strawberries on Your Porch
Watermelon is another food that is found to contain high levels of lycopene! Store the watermelon on your kitchen counter for a few days before cutting to get even higher levels of lycopene. For a juicy & delicious treat, try to find a watermelon with seeds! Our opinion is the seedless watermelons are a bit dry and tasteless. Use watermelon in salads along with fresh fetta cheese.
Red Apples –
Buy Organic! Always try to buy organic apples if possible. Apples are full of fiber and antioxidants. Apples can be eaten plain or sliced and added to your tossed salad.
Red Grapes –
When we think of red grapes we tend to think of a glass of red wine and the health benefits that come from drinking a glass a day. But what about eating grapes? Grapes are filled with fiber and water; both help to reduce constipation. Grapes contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols which may help to slow down the growth of certain cancers. Always try to buy organic grapes whenever possible to reduce the amount of pesticides. Make a fresh salad using both strawberries and grapes! Add a little chicken and you have a complete meal.
Plenty of Antioxidants and Vitamin C. See if you can find a great juice that you like and drink a few glasses each week.
Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving so again, find a non-sugary juice that you like and include some healthy cranberries in your diet.
Red Raspberries –
A delicious red fruit that is also high in Potassium with helps to lower blood pressure. Raspberries also contain Vitamin C and are low in sugar. Eat raspberries for breakfast in a fruit bowl or on top of cereal or oatmeal.
Beets are high in fiber and vitamin C and potassium. Don’t forget to add the green leafy tops of your beets to your next salad! This is the most nutritious part of the beet and should not be thrown away. Clean, peel and slice beets and bake them for about 30 minutes or until tender. Eat plain with some white Balsamic vinegar or toss into your healthy tossed salad.
Red Radishes –
Radishes contain plenty of Fiber, Vitamin C and Potassium which helps to lower your blood pressure. The best way to eat radishes is to wash them thoroughly and cut of the ends with a sharp knife. Cut into small slivers and add to your toss salad. Roasted Radishes Recipe
Red Cabbage –
Red Cabbage is high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Red cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and important to our diet and health. Add raw red cabbage to your coleslaw or your lunch wraps. Over cooking cabbage can cause it to lose some nutrients, so try to eat some raw.
Sweet Potatoes –
We love sweet potatoes with all that vitamin A! Over 350% of vitamin A per cup! Read more on why we need to add more sweet potato to our diets.
Why Buy Organic Red Fruits and Vegetables
Many fruits and vegetables are sprayed with a pesticide that could be harmful and cancer-causing to young children and also adults with lower immune systems. More studies are being done to determine the hazards of spraying our foods with chemicals. Until more is known on the health effects of pesticides, always choose organic if possible.