February is teeming with red inspiration, from red hearts for Valentine’s Day to National Wear Red Day for heart health. We decided to round up the healthiest red foods (no artificial dyes here) to incorporate into all of our February meals.
Get your kids involved in the meal planning for an extra serving of fun — and an opportunity to teach them about healthy eating habits. Be sure to keep red-hued foods on your menu year round to add a load of antioxidants and other phytonutrients to your family’s diet. Here are a few of the healthiest red foods for vegans.
Fresh-picked tomatoes have such a short season (and those pale year-round supermarket specimens have no flavor), so stock your kitchen with sun-dried tomatoes (dry or oil-packed), which are a highly concentrated source of antioxidants, in particular lycopene, which may protect you from heart disease and cancer. You can also reap the health benefits of tomatoes in tomato sauce or 100% tomato juice.
A summertime favorite, fresh cherries are bursting with health benefits, including heart health and a reduced risk of cancer. Cherries are also a natural source of melatonin, which can help you sleep, and they have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial in reducing the symptoms of inflammation-induced medical conditions and exercise recovery. Dried cherries and 100% cherry juice also rank high in health benefits.
More purple than red, the rich color of red beets mean this nutrient-dense root veg is rich in anthocyanins, which have powerful antioxidant properties. Eat your beets to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, inflammation, and aging diseases.
Pomegranate arils are tiny gems with huge health benefits. Offering a sweet-tart flavor, pomegranate arils and their juice combat heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and they also act as an anti-viral agent. The antioxidants in pomegranates may also improve your dental health by countering plaque.
Red bell peppers
A tasty low-calorie source of vitamins A and C and other nutrients, fresh and roasted bell peppers add flavor and color to meals while adding anti-aging benefits to your health.
A holiday food and table decor favorite, fresh cranberries as well as dried cranberries and 100% cranberry juice are power-packed with antioxidants, which can reduce your risk of cancer, and other phytonutrients, such as proanthocyanidins, which can lower your likelihood of urinary tract infections and stomach ulcers.
This juicy low-calorie red fruit is loaded with cancer-fighting lycopene and is a delicious and hydrating way to boost your heart health. Because melons are not in season during the winter, put them on your summer menu to reap the refreshing health benefits.
Other red (some of which lean towards pink or purple) fruits and vegetables to consider are: strawberries, red grapes, radicchio, red cabbage, raspberries, apples, red pears, plums, radishes, and red grapefruit.