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, N.Y.
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 says.
Get more by: Sprinkling some in your yogurt or adding them to a smoothie.
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