The red group of foods displays a spectrum of colors that ranges from light yellow to dark red.
These plants includes an assortment of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, peppers, strawberries, cranberries, lingonberries, pomegranates, ginger, and turmeric.
In addition to their visual appeal and wonderful taste, these plants provide powerful antioxidants due to the unique library of phytochemicals (lycopene and the bright anthocyanidins) they synthesize.
These antioxidants are especailly important because they can cross the blood-brain barrier, giving essential protection to nerve cells in the brain.
Flavonoids found in bilberry, lingonberry, black currant and grapes are called anthocyanosides and possess significant collagen-stabilizing actions. This strength, combined with the free radical suppression and inhibition of histamine and prostaglandin secretion that flavonoids causes, improves the long-term health of tissue.
Anthocyanidins are powerful antioxidants.
Their dual use by the body as anti-inflammatory compounds makes them a valuable aid to athletes.
Anthocyanidins can improve insulin function and thereby lowers blood sugar.
Nutritional diabetes, a fast growing problem, may be orevented by the deeply purpled pigments.
Tannins are bitter tasting plant polyphenols that bind to proteins.
The tannins present in red fruits such as cranberries, strawberries persimmon and pomegranates give the fruits their distinctive bitter taste.
Some of these tannins are thought to prevent urinary tract infections and aids prostate health. These tannins act through their ability to prevent bacteria from adhering to the mucosa walls of the urethra and urinary bladder. Without colonization, bacteria are unable to produce illness.
Red carbohydrates also contain high concentrations of vitamin C. Vitamin C, in addition to its antioxidant potential, is essential to collagen cross linking. Collagen is the protein that makes up tendons and ligaments and is the protein matrix of cartilage and bone.
Many of the red foods are classified as fruits since they are the seed-bearing component of plants. These include apples, apricots, bananas, cantaloupes cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, lingonberries, mangoes, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes and watermelon. All citrus fruits are red foods and include peaches, papaya and pineapple.
Red vegetables include beets, carrots, corn, onions, cabbage, radishes, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, ginger and tomatoes.
Red algae products include kanten, nori and kombu while ginger, turmeric and peppers are powerful red spices.