We’ve all heard the adage that one apple a day keeps the doctor away, but is the same true for its red counterparts like red tinged strawberries, cherries, raspberries, watermelon, tomatoes, and beets?
Are the red fruits and veggies beneficial to health? How do they benefit one’s health with their sparking red tinge?
Lona Sandon, RD, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association and an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says yes. “There are a variety of red fruits and veggies to select from, and each one brings something unique to the table,” she says to WebMD.
Many red fruits and vegetables are high in potent antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins, which may help prevent anything from heart disease to prostate cancer to stroke and macular degeneration (the loss of vision).
What are the health benefits of red fruits and veggies?
The polyphenol content in red foods is particularly high. When we talk about red foods, we mean everything from deep purple plums and eggplants to bright red strawberries and cerise-colored raspberries.
Watermelon, cherries, red apples and grapes, prunes, and tomatoes are all members of the so-called red family. Polyphenols can also be found in vegetables such as red cabbage, red onion, and beetroot.
These red foods have additional advantages. Cranberries, for example, can help prevent urinary tract infections, while tomatoes have been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Most of these red foods are prebiotic, meaning they nourish our gut flora (microbiota), which is important not just for digestion but also for our immune system.
As red fruits and veggies contain many phytonutrients, they exert various chemical responses. Red-hued fruits and vegetables produce anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory functions. Chronic inflammation develops when our immune system is mismanaged, indicating the onset of neurological diseases, cancer, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, and other chronic diseases. According to a research published as a part of a book suggests that keeping red fruits and vegetables on your diet chart can reduce the risks of these chronic diseases.
Red fruits can come in handy for obese persons. Lycopene and ascorbic acid prevent any systemic inflammation. They also reduce bad cholesterol. A research carried out on obese female subjects shows that consuming red fruits juices can reduce systemic inflammation. Ultimately, they reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and other inflammatory diseases. Lycopene is proven to be protective against heart diseases. Anthocyanins also combat cancer cells from spreading.
Red fruits contain vitamins, including vit-A and vit-C, etc., that boost your immune system. Vitamin A is helpful for cell functioning, epithelial cells growth, and other anti-inflammatory purposes. Red fruits and vegetables are mythically believed to increase blood corpuscles which is partially true. Some red fruits and veggies also grow hemoglobin levels and regulate hormone activities.
Let’s sum up the key takeaways in bullet points. Red fruits and vegetables-
- Ramp up anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory functions
- Create a barrier to defend against chronic inflammatory diseases like cancer, diabetes, obesity, pulmonary diseases, etc.
- Keep the bad cholesterol peripherally and thus reduce the risk of atherosclerosis
- Gobble up the free radicals that can cause cancer
- Regulate hormonal mechanisms, e.g., insulin, estrogen
- Enhance immune system
- Protect epithelial tissues aka skin, hair, collagenous tissues, e.g., nail
Simply put, antioxidants aid in the fight against free radical damage to the body’s cells. The free radicals can be produced by the body’s own immune system or by external factors such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and UV radiation. When antioxidants are outnumbered by free radicals, an imbalance known as oxidative stress occurs, which can cause inflammation. Low-grade inflammation is now thought to be the root cause of all modern chronic disease.
It’s not a health craze to color your food red. It has the ability to lower the incidence of chronic disease.
It’s a common saying that we are what we eat. The human body has a remarkable ability to defend its cells from harm. Our food contains a variety of minerals (such as vitamins A, C, and E) as well as phytochemicals (such as polyphenols), which are potent antioxidants.