In this week's Lifestyle article we'll talk all about the health benefits of Red Fruits and Vegetables. We've all heard the cliche that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but this is also true for strawberries, cherries, raspberries, watermelon, tomatoes, and beets.
Fruits and vegetables are a great way to get many healthy nutrients into our diet. Many red fruits and vegetables are loaded with powerful, healthy antioxidants - such as lycopene and anthocyanins - that may do everything from fight heart disease and prostate cancer to decrease the risk for stroke and macular degeneration.
There are many ways to sneak in all these good nutrients into your diet. Here is the list of 15 of our favorite red fruits and vegetables.
In season: May and June, but available year-round
Benefits: Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C which boosts immune system function among other things. They are high in vitamins, fiber, potassium, and manganese. Similar to other berries, strawberries have a high antioxidant capacity, which may reduce your risk of chronic disease. When compared to other fruits, strawberries have a relatively low glycemic index. Eating them shouldn’t cause a big blood sugar spike. Besides all this, they are also a good source of folate, which helps heart health and is helpful for women in their childbearing years.
In season: June and July, but available year-round
Benefits: Cherries are rich in nutrients, especially potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. They are packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins and carotenoids, which reduce inflammation and may help prevent several diseases. The high presence of vitamin C, as well as potassium, can help maintain lower blood pressure. Another impressive health benefit of cherries is their melatonin content. Melatonin is a hormone that signals your brain when it’s time to sleep. It may help treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.
In season: July through October, but available year-round
Benefits: Apples are among the most popular fruits, and also happen to be one of the most nutritious ones. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin B. Some studies suggest that the antioxidants in apples can promote heart health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Another notable health benefit of apples is their pectin content. Pectin is a probiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut and helps improve digestion and metabolic health.
In season: May through September, but available year-round
Benefits: A summer favorite watermelon has numerous health benefits like help maintain lower blood pressure. It’s high in vitamins A and C, and it’s also rich in antioxidants, including lycopene, carotenoids, and cucurbitacin E. There are many other vitamins in watermelons such as phosphorous, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, and manganese. Of all the fruits, watermelon is one of the most hydrating. It is made up of 92% water, which can help you feel more full. Making it a great fruit for people who want to lose weight.
In season: September through November
Benefits: A feature of Middle-eastern cooking the pomegranate is among the healthiest fruits you can eat. Not only are they nutrient-dense, but they also contain powerful plant compounds that are responsible for most of their health benefits. The antioxidant levels in pomegranate are three times higher than those of green tea and red wine. The best part of pomegranates is that the juicy seeds can be added to virtually anything and are especially good in salads and cold dishes.
In season: August through mid-October, but available year-round
Benefits: Raspberries are another great and nutritious summer fruit. They have many health benefits and are a good source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, quercetin, gallic and ellagic acid. They are high in fiber, which helps lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol, which is very good for a healthy heart.
In season: August through October, but available year-round
Benefits: Grapes are very healthy. Their high antioxidant content is what makes them stand out. They have many health benefits which include lowering blood pressure and protecting against diabetes. They are rich in vitamins especially C and K. The anthocyanins and resveratrol in grapes have both been shown to reduce inflammation.
In season: Late May through October, but available year-round
Benefits: There are many different plums with different colors, but the Victoria plum is the red one. Plums have many health benefits associated with them, due to their high level of antioxidants and vitamins. They are rich in fiber and help ease digestion, as well as being a wonderful source of vitamin A.
In season: October and May, but available year-round
Benefits: Grapefruit is one of the healthiest citrus fruits, especially if you choose the pink or red variant. Red grapefruit has higher levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin C. It’s also a good source of pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. Besides being a good source of vitamins and minerals, it is known for its ability to aid weight loss and reduce insulin resistance. Also, eating grapefruit has been shown to help prevent kidney stones.
In season: Available year-round
Benefits: Red peppers are probably one of the most surprising red fruits on this list. Yes, peppers are actually a fruit! They are a phenomenal source of vitamin A, which helps with skin, bones, and teeth. Another fact that you may not know is that red peppers have as much vitamin C as an orange. Besides that, they are also a good source of antioxidants and carotenoids.
In season: Summer, but available year-round
Benefits: Tomatoes are among the world’s healthiest foods, with powerful antioxidants that are believed to aid the immune system. They are a good source of lycopene, which is strongly connected with prostate cancer prevention. There is also some evidence that lycopene may protect against breast cancer. Last but not least, tomatoes are also a good source of potassium and vitamin C, which makes them heart-healthy, too.
In season: Spring and summer, but available year-round
Benefits: Rhubarb is renowned for its sour taste and thick stalks. Despite being a vegetable it’s usually cooked as a fruit and sweetened. Rhubarb is not especially rich in essential nutrients, and its calorie content is low. However, it is a very good source of vitamin K1, providing around 26–37% of the Daily Value (DV) in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving depending on whether it’s cooked. Like other fruits and vegetables, it’s also high in fiber, providing similar amounts as oranges, apples, or celery.
In season: Spring and summer, but available year-round
Benefits: Radishes are very good for you and are high in Vitamins E, A, C, B6, and K as well as potassium and phosphorous, magnesium, copper, calcium, and iron. Eating cruciferous vegetables like radishes may help prevent cancer. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that are broken down into isothiocyanates when combined with water. Isothiocyanates help purge the body of cancer-causing substances, and prevent tumor development.
In season: Midsummer, but available year-round
Benefits: Red onions are nutrient-dense, meaning they’re low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. This vegetable is particularly high in vitamin C, a nutrient involved in regulating immune health, collagen production, tissue repair, and iron absorption. Like in the previous red fruits and vegetables the vitamin C present in the onion will act as a powerful antioxidant in your body, protecting your cells against damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. Onions are also rich in B vitamins, including folate (B9) and pyridoxine (B6) - which play key roles in metabolism, red blood cell production and nerve function.
In season: June through October, but available year-round
Benefits: Beets have a high content of vitamins including A, C, and B6, but they are also amazing sources of folate, fiber, zeaxanthin, lutein, and a variety of health-boosting minerals. Some studies suggest that this vegetable can lower the risk of chronic disease and help control blood pressure. This vegetable has also been shown to be beneficial for helping speed up recovery after exercise and may help increase performance during exercise. Beetroots are great in salads, smoothies, or even in some desserts. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s even low in fat. The bottom line is this red vegetable is incredible for your health.