Red is celebrated globally as the colour of love, passion and desire. It is also linked to the heart. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, red becomes the dominant colour across clothes, flowers, decor and more. How about including red in your diet too? Let us tell you about the healthiest red coloured foods. Of course, the list does not include red velvet cake, but you can choose vegetables and fruits in red colour for healthy meals.
Red foods refer to fruits and vegetables that showcase a red pigment, mainly due to the presence of compounds such as lycopene, anthocyanins, and betalains, says nutritionist Dr Rohini Patil.
The compounds in the red foods contribute to the vibrant colour and bring along a host of health benefits.
Red foods, particularly tomatoes, contain lycopene, known for its heart protective properties. Lycopene helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. A 2021 study published in Bioscience Research showed that potassium found in watermelon, another red food, helps combat heart disease and protects heart health.
The antioxidants in red foods combat free radicals, says Dr Patil. They potentially reduce the risk of certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer.
Red fruits like strawberries and watermelon are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. They promote eye health and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
The presence of vitamin C in red foods enhances the immune system. They help the body fight off infections as well as illnesses.
Antioxidants in red foods also contribute to skin health. They combat signs of ageing while promoting a radiant complexion.
Red fruits like raspberries and cherries are high in fibre. They aid digestion and promote a healthy gut, the expert tells Health Shots.
Red foods, including cherries and pomegranates, contain anti-inflammatory compounds. The red coloured-foods may help alleviate inflammation in your body.
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The fibre content in red foods helps in promoting a feeling of fullness. This in turn supports weight management efforts.
Here are some red vegetables and fruits that you can include in your diet.
Incorporate a variety of red foods into your daily diet, aiming for at least 2 to 3 servings per day, says Dr Patil. But mind you, excessive consumption of red foods may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort in some people.
Anyone with sensitivities to red fruits or vegetables should avoid them. Also, those with certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones or gastrointestinal issues, may need to limit their intake. Don’t go overboard with them, and maintain a balanced diet.