March is National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to promote nutrition awareness and education. This year’s theme is “eat right with color”. With this theme in mind, I’ve committed this month to outlining the benefits of a colorful diet.
Eating a colorful diet of fruits and vegetables is the simplest way to get more antioxidants in your diet. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation in your body. And inflammation is now believed by many to be the root cause behind the diseases of aging (cancer, heart disease and neurological disease), immune dysfunction, and many, many more minor conditions. Inflammation has also been linked to each of the four major childhood disorders: allergy, asthma, ADHD and autism. By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, you are ensuring that your family benefits from a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.
In general, red foods are good for the heart, the immune system, vision, and are shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
Below I’ve listed some red fruits and veggies:
Cherries – Packed with anthocyanins, which aid in the reduction of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and gout. Also contains melatonin, a natural sleep aid. A good source of Vitamin A.
Cranberries – Block urinary track infections and control for yeast. Also aid in the healing of ulcers due to H. pylori bacteria.
Pomegranate – Very high in Vitamin C and potassium. Also great for the skin, improving acne, and slowing signs of aging.
Red/Pink Grapefruit – Contains salicylic acid which helps prevent arthritis and works as an antiseptic. Also high in Vitamin C. Helps with indigestion, the flu, and fatigue.
Red Grapes – The healthiest of the grapes, the darker the better. Resveratrol is a cancer-preventative and anti-aging. Tannins in grapes help with fighting viruses.
Watermelon – Loaded with Vitamin C and packed with Vitamin A and Lycopene. Rehydrating, increases energy. Contains B6, which increases the brain’s ability to cope with anxiety and panic.
Beets – High in fiber, folate, magnesium and potassium. Powerful blood purifiers, great for detox.
Red Onions – Helps to lower blood sugar. Good source of chromium and B6 which are good for heart health.
Red Peppers – Very high in Vitamin C, one serving provides 3 times your daily dose.
Red Potatoes – Potassium, Vitamin C, high in protein. Great alternative to white potatoes.
Rhubarb – Calcium, Vitamin K, and Lutein. Lutein is great for the skin and eyes.
Tomatoes – Rich in Lycopene, especially when cooked. Lycopene is very important to prostate health.
The message: fruits and vegetables are AMAZING for your health. Explore seasonal, local, organic red foods at your local health food store.