Nature has endowed us with a variety of fruits and vegetables that come in various colors, which provide us with different benefits. Fruits and vegetables that are red in color are referred to as “red foods”. These fruits and vegetables contain two main free radical eliminating antioxidants: anthocyanin and lycopene, which protect against various types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. There are many studies which show that lycopene increases the skin’s ability to resist the effects of UV light. In other words, it acts like the body’s internal sunscreen. There have been studies about anthocyanin which shows that it reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and helps prevent macular degeneration, which is associated directly with free radicals. Some fruits and vegetables that fall under the category of “red foods” are:
- Tomatoes are rich in lycopene. In addition to the usual uses, tomatoes may be eaten chilled, and as a snack. They can also be stir-fried with a little bit of olive oil that will make the nutrients better absorbed by the body.
- Watermelons are a refreshing fruit that is rich in vitamin C and lycopene. It is made up of a lot of water and this is where the sweetness of the fruit lies. Watermelons contain carbohydrates that are converted to sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream. However, because the watermelon is made up largely of water, the carbohydrates and the watermelon’s glycemic index is low. This fruit will not make you fat, if eaten in moderation.
- Strawberries are a source of vitamin C and folic acid and are rich in antioxidants. Strawberries are great for skin, eyes, heart, prostate gland and also help to slow down the aging process. Strawberries do not contain large amounts of sugar and can be eaten without feeling guilty!
- Cherries fight inflammation (inflammation is a cause of aging) and are high in potassium, they benefit people who have high blood pressure (but are not recommended for people suffering from kidney diseases).
- Red bell peppers are a rich source of vitamins A and C. In addition to adding these to salads, they can also be stir-fried with various meats, steamed, eaten with chili paste and diced and fried with eggs.
- Raspberries stimulate the function of enzymes which helps the body to dissolve fat; they are an ideal fruit to eat instead of other snacks while you are on a diet.
We should be serious about eating food that benefit the body. Health conscious people, who do not feel that they are getting adequate antioxidants from the food they eat, should consult with a physician who specializes in nutrition including the use of vitamins and dietary supplements.