Red Foods: The New Health Powerhouses?
From strawberries to beets, red fruits and vegetables pack a vibrant nutritional punch.
Red Food: Pink Grapefruit continued...
Benefits: "You want to go for color when you choose grapefruit,
because pink grapefruit has higher levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin
C," Busch says. "It's also a good source of pectin, which helps lower
cholesterol." Bhimu Patil, PhD, the director of the Vegetable and Fruit
Improvement Center and an associate professor of horticultural sciences at
Texas A&M University in College Station, agrees. "If the choice is
between red and white grapefruit, go red because pink or red grapefruit is rich
in lycopene and white grapefruit is not," he says.
Get more by: Having half of a grapefruit or glass of pink
grapefruit juice with your breakfast. Just be sure to check with your doctor if
you're on medication -- grapefruit juice does interfere with some drugs.
Another option? "Put grapefruit sections in salads," Busch suggests.
"There are lots of jarred or canned grapefruit sections that are really
Red Food: Red Pepper
In season: Available year-round
Benefits: "Red pepper is a phenomenal source of vitamin A, which
helps with skin, bones, and teeth. And most people don’t realize that they have
as much vitamin C as an orange," says Busch.
Get more by: "Dice it and add to salads, soups, and
casseroles," Busch suggests.
Red Food: Beets
In season: June through October, but available year-round
Benefits: A root vegetable, "beets are rich in folate, lycopene,
and anthocyanins," Pappo says.
Another powerful antioxidant, anthocyanins "are not just present in red
foods, but also blue and purple foods as red and blue makes purple."
Get more by: Adding some beets to add color to plates as a side dish
or in salads, soup, or stew.
Choose Foods for Every Color in Rainbow
Ask any child and he or she will tell you that the colors of the
rainbow are (R)ed, (O)range, (Y)ellow, (G)reen (B)lue, (I)ndigo and
There is more to a healthy diet than red foods, Pappo says. "I recommend
choosing foods for every color in the rainbow," she says. "The deeper,
the darker, and the richer the color, the better," she says. "Aim for
nine a day, and have one from every color group."
Remember that it's always better to eat whole foods than take supplements of
specific nutrients, Pappo says. "Eat your nutrients, don't pop them,"
she tells WebMD. "It's the combination of everything in these red foods,
not just one miracle nutrient."