When it comes to monitoring health, many people associate the color red with alarm–a warning sign from the body that’s something’s amiss. But when it comes to healthy eating, red can be an outstanding choice! The pigments that give red foods (blue and purple edibles, too) their nutritious properties are called anthocyanins–and they’re well known as antioxidants.
It’s almost impossible to resist a juicy, red tomato, a tasty bowl of borsht (beet) soup and a plate of luscious strawberries or raspberries. Here are some other less common items you might want to add to your red food or supplement list.
Hibiscus. This gorgeous red flower, which makes a red-hued tea, has its origins in Angola but is grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Hibiscus is recognized for its polyphenol and organic-acid content.
Goji Berries. A staple in Asian herbal medicine since ancient times, carotenoid-rich goji berries (Lycium barbarum) also contain essential amino acids, trace minerals, and vitamins A and C, among other nutrients. They’ve been been called a Himalayan superfruit.
Zeaxanthin. Paprika peppers owe their brilliant color to zeaxanthin, a carotenoid or plant pigment. In the body, zeaxanthin is found in the retina of the eye. Studies have shown carotenoids, which have an antioxidant effect, are associated with eye health.
What’s your favorite way to incorporate red foods into your meals? Share it with us in the comments below.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.
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