Last week we talked about adding GREEN fruits and vegetables to your diet as a means of obtaining vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients necessary for good health.
This week in our “Eat a Rainbow” series, we are talking about the RED group. The red group also includes pink fruits and vegetables, like pink grapefruit and watermelon. Red/pink fruits and vegetables contain the antioxidants: anthocyanin, lycopene and beta carotene as well as vitamin C. Nutrients that have a variety of benefits to our health and appearance :
- Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are part of the group of antioxidants called, flavonoids. These powerful antioxidants are thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, vision loss, neurological disorders (like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and memory loss), as well as improve immune function and energy levels.
- Lycopene: Lycopene is another powerful antioxidant, hailing from the carotenoid family. It can help prevent or slow the progression of certain cancers such as: prostate, breast, and lung cancers, as well as help protect against heart disease, neurological impairment, cataracts, and sunburn.
- Beta carotene: Beta carotene is another antioxidant from the carotenoid family. It provides many of the same benefits of lycopene and can also help improve the health and appearance of the skin.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is most well known for its ability to boost the immune system and help ward off colds and flus. But, vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can help prevent certain cancers, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. In addition, vitamin C helps promote healthy skin by slowing the aging process and supporting collagen production.
It is important to remember that some vitamins, minerals, and other compounds found in these fruits and vegetables can interfere with certain medical conditions and medications, so it is best to talk to your medical professional about which red fruits and veggies are safe for you to include in your diet.
Fruits and vegetables in the red color group can help prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, support eye health, boost the immune system and promote healthy, youthful skin. They are a delicious addition to your daily diet and adding 1-2 servings per day can help ensure you meet the minimum daily requirement for 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Check out these recipes designed to help you add more RED to your diet: