- It is important to paint your plate with a spectrum of vegetables – green, red, yellow, orange, purple, and white, to obtain the full nutritional effects, but red and red-orange veggies have special importance as they have been added to the 2012 dietary guidelines.
- Red vegetables, including tomatoes, rhubarb, beets, radishes, onion, cabbage, and red peppers are packed with anti-oxidants such as lycopenes and anthocyanins, which supply the rosy color to the vegetables.
- Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their red color and helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and infertility.
- People who consume high amounts of tomatoes have a lower incidence of prostate cancer.
- Anthocyanins are a flavinoid that gives red, blue, purple, and black colors to fruits and vegetables, such as eggplants, blueberries, and radishes. They are linked to prevention of cardiovascular disease prevention, diabetes control, and obesity control.
- Anthocyanins work to neutralize highly reactive free radicals that damage our cells and DNA. These anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties and are linked to cancer prevention and improved cognitive function and heart health.
- Purple sweet potatoes have anthocyanins that protect against colorectal cancer.
- Bilberry and blackcurrant in the diet helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease through the presence of anthocyanins.
- Anthocyanins also lower cardiovascular disease related biomarkers.
- Red grapes, in particular, their skins, have high amounts o f anthocyanins and resveratrol. They reduce Alzheimer’s risk, stroke , and heart disease.
Anthocyanins and plant color – those listed below with Anthocyanins:
- Black color: Blackberries, black beans, mission figs, currants
- Red: Apples, beets, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, kidney beans, peaches, red grapes, pomegranates, red potatoes, radishes, red onions, radicchio.
- Blue-purple: Purple potatoes, raisins, blueberries, eggplant, plums
Remember – put a rainbow of colored vegetables and fruits on your plate, but don’t forget the red’s!!