Red Foods: The New Health Powerhouses?
From strawberries to beets, red fruits and vegetables pack a vibrant nutritional punch.
Red Food: Cranberries continued...
Benefits: "Cranberries have been shown to cause the death of
cancer cells in lab studies," Sandon says. But that's not all these
pint-sized, maroon-colored berries can do. "Cranberries also can stop
bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls and may even prevent H
pylori, the bacteria responsible for many stomach ulcers, from sticking to
the stomach walls and causing ulcers," she says. The nutrients responsible
for this anti-sticking mechanism are called proanthocyanidins. Cranberries are
also rich in vitamin C.
Get more by: Pouring yourself a glass of cranberry juice, blending
canned cranberries in smoothies or adding cranberries to poultry stuffing.
Red Food: Tomatoes
In season: Summer, but available year-round
Benefits: "Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, which is
strongly connected with prostate cancer protection," Sandon says.
"There is also some evidence that lycopene may protect against breast
cancer," she says. "Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium and
vitamin C, which makes them heart healthy, too."
Get more by: Cooking up pasta with marinara or even chowing down on a
vegetable pizza. "Unlike a lot of other nutrients, lycopene's
bio-availability increases when you cook it," says Miriam Pappo, MS, RD,
the director of clinical nutrition at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx,
Red food: Raspberries
In season: August through mid-October, but available year-round
Benefits: "Raspberries are high in fiber, which we know helps
lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or 'bad' cholesterol," Sandon
Get more by: Sprinkling some in your yogurt or adding them to a
Red Food: Watermelon
In season: May through September, but available year-round
Benefits: "Watermelon is a great source of lycopene," Sandon
says. Pappo says that "lycopene may decrease the risk of heart disease by
decreasing LDL cholesterol. And it decreases the risk for certain cancers,
primarily prostate, as well as the risk of macular degeneration," she says.
"It also improves blood vessel function and lowers stroke risk."
Get more by: Eating watermelon for a sweet dessert or
refreshing snack during the summer months.
Red Food: Pink Grapefruit
In season: October and May, but available year-round