Most people know is it is important to consume 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables but due to hectic lifestyles and busy schedules, we often forget. Type 11 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, and cancer is on the rise due to a diet of refined grains, refined sugar, fat, and processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that protect our bodies from these diseases and more. Red fruits and vegetables in particular contain nutrients that maintain healthy blood pressure, discourage growth of tumours, reduce bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, and help prevent arthritis.
These are some nutrients commonly found in red fruits and vegetables:
A diet high in Vitamin C is known to delay the aging process as well as reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Red pepper, guava, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and papaya are red foods that excellent sources of Vitamin C. Click here to read 15+ Vitamin C-Rich Fruits and Vegetables.
Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives red fruits and vegetables their characteristic bright red colour. This powerful antioxidant is believed to reduce the risks of certain types of cancer, lower the risk of heart disease, as well as reduce and lower the risk of macular degeneration (age-related eye disorder). The top three foods that contain the most lycopene are guava, watermelon, and tomatoes, respectively. Click here to read The Top Ten Foods Highest in Lycopene.
Quercetin, a flavonoid found in many brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, helps maintain healthy blood pressure, lowers the risks of certain types of cancers such as colon cancer, and helps ease allergy and asthma symptoms by preventing the release of histamine by the body’s immune cells. Raw onion, cranberries, cherries, apples, and red peppers are good sources of quercetin.
Ellagic Acid is an antioxidant known for its ability to call death of cancer cells. This antioxidant is also known for reducing the risk of heart disease as well as promoting the healing of wounds in the body. Red fruits rich in ellagic acid include raspberries, strawberries, pomegranate, guava and cranberries. Click here to read a summary of reasearch findings that show ellagic acid’s ability to reduce the risks of cancers.
This biflavonoid is responsible for colour and is found at the highest concentrations in the peels of citrus fruits. Like quercetin, hesperidin helps ease allergy and asthma symptoms by acting as an anti-histamine and thereby preventing the release of histamine. Its other benefits include maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, reducing the risks of certain types of cancers, and strengthing the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) which promotes healing in the body. Grapefruit is the richest source of hesperidin.
Some red-coloured fruits include:
- red grapes
- red apple (with skin)
- red pear (with skin)
These fruits can be eaten as is, added to cereal and milk, added to salads, or incorporated into smoothies.
Some red-coloured vegetables include:
- red pepper
- tomatoes (cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than raw tomatoes)
- red chilli pepper
- red onion (best eaten raw or slightly cooked for maxiumum nutrient benefits)
- red potatoe (with skin)
- red cabbage
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is a vital to getting a wide range of nutrients all which help us lead healthy lives. The more colourful your diet is, the greater the benefits!
Feature Image: plantsforhumanhealth.ncsu.edu
Second Image: vegannutritionista.com