Why you should be adding these five red foods to your plate right now.
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Nidhi Nigam, Clinical Nutritionist and Founder of Nutrify, says, “The bright colours of most vegetables and fruits, apart from contributing to their appeal, are responsible for giving us our daily dose of antioxidants, phytochemicals and flavonoids.” Different colours indicate different nutrient profiles so it’s important that we include a little of each colour in our daily diets to maximise the nutritional benefits.

Adding red to your daily diet not only makes your plate more colourful but also offers a host of health benefits. Nigam says, “Red fruits and vegetables are packed with a variety of powerful antioxidants and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They also include a very important pigment called anthocyanins which have been used in folk medicine since time immemorial.” What more, she says that red-coloured fruits and vegetables play an important role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and in the prevention of cancer due to their antioxidant properties. Here are the benefits of some of the most common red foods and ways to include them in your diet.

Tomatoes

“This fruit is an abundant source of a special antioxidant called Lycopene which helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases and even cancer,” informs Nigam. Additionally, tomatoes are also loaded with vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant that protects the body against the damage caused by free radicals. You can also improve your eyesight and prevent night blindness by loading up on this fruit, thanks to its vitamin A content. On the other hand, vitamin B and potassium in tomatoes keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check. If you’ve ever wondered why tomato soup is recommended when you’re under the weather, it is because they’re known to have immune boosting properties. The best part, tomatoes encourage the production of an amino acid called Carnitine which enhances the body’s fat burning ability. Make the most: If you’re looking for a healthy option, this salad is just what you should be munching on. Instantly add fun to any of your boring meals with this super easy and tasty tomato chutney.

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Beetroots

Kavita Haldia, Head, Nutrition, VLCC says, “A good source of iron, folate, vitamins A and C, K, beta-carotene, polyphenols, magnesium, antioxidants, dietary fibre and other important micronutrients, beetroots are indeed a powerhouse of nutrients.” From helping lower blood pressure, boosting exercise performance, helping in detoxification and preventing dementia, beets can handle almost everything.” But this humble red veggie’s superpowers aren’t limited to boosting your health alone. Studies suggest that they can offer both intrinsic as well as extrinsic benefits. Haldia tells us, “Beets have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties which flush out toxins from the body, helping reflect beauty from inside out.” Make the most: Up your health game before the monsoon with this traditional, fermented beverage. If you’re craving for something sweet, this barfi can help you get your sweet fix.

Watermelon

Boasting a high water content—about 90 per cent— this red fruit can speed up metabolism and flush out toxins and fats thereby contributing to weight loss. “Packed with a good amount of antioxidants including vitamin C, it can combat the formation of cancer-causing free radicals and strengthen the immune system,” says Dr Rajeshwari Shetty, Head of Dietetics, SL Raheja Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. Apart from giving the fruit its bright red colour, lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant and red carotenoid pigment, offers a host of other health benefits including relief from respiratory inflammation, preventing any infections,” says Shetty. Additionally, lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in men. And can help prevent your skin from sun damage. Make the most: Kick start your mornings on a healthy note with this tango. Besides, you can also add a unique twist to your regular dosas with this recipe.

Red bell pepper

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Providing you with almost 300 per cent of your daily intake of vitamin C, red peppers help boost immunity keeping you in the pink of health always. Capsaicin, a compound found in red peppers, can help increase your fat-burning rate thereby aiding in weight loss. Additionally, Nigam says, “Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A (in the form of carotenoids), B2, B6, E and dietary fibre, pantothenic acid, niacin and potassium. Studies show that the regular consumption of bell peppers can help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol, control diabetes, bring relief from pain and soothe any inflammation.” Make the most: Made with minimum ingredients, this soup is all you need to stay warm on a cold monsoon night. Help your kids reap the benefits of this power food with this yummy appetiser and thank us later.

Pomegranate

Known to contain almost three times as many the antioxidants present in both wine or green tea, pomegranates are also a good source of vitamins A, C and E, as well as folic acid. An online study suggests that this fruit can help fight free radicals, reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clots, thanks to the antioxidants present in it. Drinking pomegranate juice can help thin your blood, preventing your blood platelets from forming clots and coagulating. A study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition concluded that the daily consumption of pomegranate juice could help lower blood pressure and also bad cholesterol, keeping the heart healthy and preventing any cardiovascular diseases. Make the most: Add health to your snack time with this crunchy recipe. Besides, you can also spice up your meals with this interesting chutney recipe. 

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