Last week I wrote on food and color psychology and how we have often been told to eat a rainbow of colors for all the right reasons! It is when you focus on getting a little of each color in your diet that you maximize nutritional benefits apart from adding visual appeal to your palate.
The five natural and abundant colors that we see in food are red, yellow, orange, green and purple. Here is the first color that we will probe into, for this series on colored foods.
The Power of “Reds”
It is said that the brighter the color of your food, the more concentrated are its nutrients. Adding the energizing red color to your palate will have you agree to this. The stimulating hue is associated with vitality, strength, and willpower. Lycopene is the main pigment that gives the red hue to the food and is being researched for its cancer preventing properties.
Red foods also contain antioxidants that prevent the DNA from oxidative damage. The powerful phytochemicals in them such as lycopene and anthocyanins are essential for the circulatory system. They are touted as ones perfect for heart health and are excellent sources of vitamin Folate.
Thinking of ways to get enough of them? You can sprinkle strawberries in your cereal or blend them up in skim milk and frozen yogurt smoothies. Want a super quencher? Pour yourself a cranberry juice. While talking about red foods, we can’t forget tomatoes. Add them to everything from salads, soups to casseroles.
The adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” says everything you need to know about the versatility of this fruit belonging to the red color palette. You can bake apples into pies, mix them into salads or add them to cereals. Red kidney beans that can be used in mixed bean salads and stews, also deserve mention here due to their health benefiting properties.
However, when choosing red foods, choose those that are whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes and refrain from choosing red foods that get their color from dyes and processing. Read up more on using the reds in cooking. So pack a vibrant nutritional punch with this brightly-coloured produce as you perk up your mood and food!