Do you ever think of a rainbow when you are shopping for fruits and vegetables? Besides making your shopping a little more fun, thinking of a rainbow of colors when you are shopping can potentially give you strong health benefits: lowered risk of cancer, less chronic disease, and a stronger immune system.
Colorful fruits and vegetables typically obtain their coloration because they contain large amounts of nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Each color corresponds to different nutrients, so you should try to eat a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables each day. Today let us focus on red vegetables.
According to the highly respected Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota, USA), red vegetables are especially good for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and diabetes, and decreasing the formation of cholesterol in your blood.
Besides the effects noted, lycopene has been shown, in multiple studies, to benefit the eyes and may help also against the damage of cigarette smoke and pollution. Anthocyanin has also been shown to help the eyes, protect the liver, and decrease overall inflammation and blood pressure.
10 recommended red vegetables:
One of the most antioxidant rich vegetables. The green tops are super-healthy as well, so look for the complete vegetable at farmer’s markets. But for beets, too much of a “good thing” can cause problems for some people. Beets contain oxalates, which in excess can lead to kidney stones or gallstones, so best if limited to 3 times a week.
- Red cabbage
A recent study suggests that cabbage is most nutritious eaten raw. If cooked, microwave or steam lightly in a little water.
Heated in a little oil will help your body absorb the lycopene.
- Red bell pepper
Highly nutritious but higher in pesticides than most vegetables. Look for organic, or wash very well.
Again best eaten raw, and pickled is great as well (helps keep your intestinal bacteria in good balance).
- Red chili peppers
Especially good for fighting overall inflammation, and may be particularly good for helping prevent cancer.
- Radicchio lettuce
- Red leaf lettuce
Much healthier than iceberg lettuce.
- Red onions
More nutritious than yellow onions.
- Red potatoes
Make sure you eat the skins, which contain lots of fiber, and where the antioxidants are concentrated.
This should give you a good start to the red part of your rainbow, and stay tuned for other colors and fruits in future posts!
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