Red produce boosts health year-round

Feb. 16, 2012 at 1:42 AM

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Red fruit and vegetables are always popular for Valentine's Day but a U.S. food expert said they are also some of the healthiest produce to eat all year long.

Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of the Web site supermarketguru.com, said the red color in fruit and vegetables reveals phytonutrients that reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth, lower low-density lipoprotein -- the "bad" cholesterol -- scavenge harmful free-radicals and support joint tissue.

Tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene, considered a powerful anti-carcinogenic that is also good for eye and prostate health. Heating tomatoes in tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and ketchup increases the levels of lycopene.

Cranberry juice, known to help prevent urinary infections also increase levels of high-density lipoprotein -- "good" cholesterol -- and antioxidants. Apples are great source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

Strawberries contain vitamin C and manganese. Manganese help reduce free radicals, keep bones strong, promote optimal thyroid function, regulate blood sugar and are high in fiber, iodine, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

Cherries, tangy and sweet, contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate the body's natural sleep patterns, prevent memory loss, decrease inflammation and lowers cancer and diabetes risk.

Raspberries reduce inflammation, pain, cancer risk, heart disease risk, diabetes risk, allergies and age-related macular degeneration.

Red bell pepper is packed with vitamin A, vitamin B6 and improves mood and sleep.

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Topics: Phil Lempert
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