What exactly is a red food? Well, red foods are nothing but fruits and vegetables that are red in color. These fruits and vegetables include strawberries, cherries, cranberries, tomatoes, raspberries, watermelons, and red peppers.
These are only a list of a few common red-colored fruits and vegetables. These are important to your body because of the various health benefits they offer. Let’s examine the health benefits of the fruits and vegetables mentioned.
Red Foods You Should Add To Your Diet Today
Strawberries are extremely nutritious for the body. They are rich sources of vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, etc. They are also a good source of natural folates. 100 grams of strawberries contain about 24 micrograms of folate.1
- Because of the presence of abundant natural folate, strawberries may be able to reduce the risk of certain defects at birth. Folate is required by the body to make DNA and other genetic materials and also required by the cells for cell division.2
- They can also protect your body from diseases because of their vitamin C content. Vitamin C can behave as an antioxidant and can protect the body from a number of diseases like a common cold.
- Strawberries may also be useful in treating diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity.3
Cherries are fiber-rich foods and a good source of vitamin C. They have a low glycemic index which means that they will not disturb the blood sugar levels of the body drastically.
- Cherries can promote healthy weight. This is because they contain zero fat content. Animal studies also suggest that cherries may be effective in reducing the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases.4
- Certain studies also show how cherries can help fight body inflammation. Drinking cherry juice before strenuous activities can reduce the muscle pain that may be experienced afterward.5
- Cherries are also known to be associated with a lower risk of strokes.6
Tomatoes get their red color from a compound known as lycopene. Lycopene has many health benefits. They are also good sources of vitamin C and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
- Because of the presence of lycopene, consuming tomatoes may help in reducing the risk of prostate cancer.7
- Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C which can behave as antioxidants that are required by the body to fight unstable free radicals that are harmful to the body.
- Studies have found that tomato juice may be helpful in alleviating menopausal symptoms like anxiety in middle-aged women.8
Red raspberries contain antioxidants like vitamin C and are also rich in fiber. They are also rich in polyphenolic compounds that may help fight cancer.
- Because of the presence of antioxidants, these berries can protect the body from infections and free radicals that can cause cancer.
- Raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat diseases like arthritis and gout.9
- They are also very good sources of fiber. Fiber is important for regular bowel movements. They can also help reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
Watermelons are green on the outside, but the pulp is red and very nutritious. 90 percent of this fruit is water. It is also a good source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.
- 100 grams of watermelon contains 91 grams of water.10 This means that watermelon is a good source of water and can keep your body hydrated.
- Watermelon, like tomatoes, contains lycopene – a compound that may be helpful in reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer.
- Studies show that watermelon lycopene may be effective in reducing cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and macular diseases.11
- Watermelon is also good for your skin. The presence of vitamins A and C can keep your skin healthy. Vitamin C can help in the production of collagen – a protein important to maintain the skin’s elasticity and strength. Vitamin A can help repair skin cells, preventing it from looking dull.
6. Red Peppers
Red bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin A and vitamin C.12
- The abundance of vitamin A in red bell peppers make it very beneficial to the human body. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, reproduction, and the immune system. It is also essential for the normal functioning of organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys.13
- The presence of various antioxidants, including vitamin C, makes red peppers a good food to fight cancer. An antioxidant capsanthin is known for its antitumor activity and may help reduce colon cancer.14
Cranberries are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and minerals like potassium.
- Cranberries may be helpful in preventing and treating urinary tract infections. Results of a study show that the intake of cranberry juice can reduce the presence of bacteria in urine.15
- Cranberries may be helpful in treating cancers. This is because cranberries contain antioxidants that help fight free radicals that can cause cancer. It may also help in reducing the severity of vascular diseases like atherosclerosis and strokes.16
- Cranberries can also fight inflammation in the body due to the presence of its antioxidants. Therefore, it may be helpful in preventing inflammatory diseases like heart diseases.17
While these fruits and vegetables are good for the body, don’t limit yourself to only red foods. It is always healthier to have a combination of fruits and vegetables of different colors.
|↑1||Basic Report: 09316, Strawberries, raw. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Folate. National Institutes for Health.|
|↑3||Afrin, Sadia, Massimiliano Gasparrini, Tamara Y. Forbes-Hernandez, Patricia Reboredo-Rodriguez, Bruno Mezzetti, Alfonso Varela-López, Francesca Giampieri, and Maurizio Battino. “Promising health benefits of the strawberry: a focus on clinical studies.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 64, no. 22 (2016): 4435-4449.|
|↑4||Seymour, E. M., Sarah K. Lewis, Daniel E. Urcuyo-Llanes, Ignasia I. Tanone, Ara Kirakosyan, Peter B. Kaufman, and Steven F. Bolling. “Regular tart cherry intake alters abdominal adiposity, adipose gene transcription, and inflammation in obesity-prone rats fed a high fat diet.” Journal of medicinal food 12, no. 5 (2009): 935-942.|
|↑5||Kuehl, Kerry S., Erica T. Perrier, Diane L. Elliot, and James C. Chesnutt. “Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7, no. 1 (2010): 17.|
|↑6||Tart cherries linked to reduced risk of stroke. University of Michigan.|
|↑7||Chen, Jinyao, Yang Song, and Lishi Zhang. “Lycopene/tomato consumption and the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 59, no. 3 (2013): 213-223.|
|↑8||Hirose, Asuka, Masakazu Terauchi, Moe Tamura, Mihoko Akiyoshi, Yoko Owa, Kiyoko Kato, and Toshiro Kubota. “Tomato juice intake increases resting energy expenditure and improves hypertriglyceridemia in middle-aged women: an open-label, single-arm study.” Nutrition journal 14, no. 1 (2015): 34.|
|↑9||Red Raspberries. Berry Health Benefits Network.|
|↑10||Basic Report: 09326, Watermelon, raw. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑11||Naz, Ambreen, Masood Sadiq Butt, Muhammad Tauseef Sultan, Mir Muhammad Nasir Qayyum, and Rai Shahid Niaz. “Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims.” EXCLI journal 13 (2014): 650.|
|↑12||Marín, Alicia, Federico Ferreres, Francisco A. Tomás-Barberán, and María I. Gil. “Characterization and quantitation of antioxidant constituents of sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.).” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52, no. 12 (2004): 3861-3869.|
|↑13||Vitamin A. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑14||Kim, Suna, Tae Youl Ha, and In Kyeong Hwang. “Analysis, bioavailability, and potential healthy effects of capsanthin, natural red pigment from Capsicum spp.” Food reviews international 25, no. 3 (2009): 198-213.|
|↑15||Avorn, Jerry, Mark Monane, Jerry H. Gurwitz, Robert J. Glynn, Igor Choodnovskiy, and Lewis A. Lipsitz. “Reduction of bacteriuria and pyuria after ingestion of cranberry juice.” Jama 271, no. 10 (1994): 751-754.|
|↑16||Neto, Catherine C. “Cranberry and blueberry: evidence for protective effects against cancer and vascular diseases.” Molecular nutrition & food research 51, no. 6 (2007): 652-664.|
|↑17||Basu, Arpita, and Timothy J. Lyons. “Strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries in the metabolic syndrome: clinical perspectives.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 60, no. 23 (2011): 5687-5692.|