Eating Red and Green for the Health of it

December 6, 2018

In the spirit of a healthy diet, Harmons dietitians encourage plentiful consumption of fruits and vegetables of all types and colors. Let’s focus on the health benefits found in red and green fruits and vegetables, so you can dress up your table with these beautiful seasonal colors!

Like all fruits and vegetables, red and green ones are an important source of vitamins and minerals. What makes them special are their unique plant chemicals.

Phytochemicals are chemicals inherent in plants that determine color, flavor, aroma, or other characteristics. The good news for us is that science has shown these chemicals provide a wide array of health benefits, including but not limited to: 

Reducing inflammation
Preventing eye disease
Preventing cancer
Preventing or helping to treat asthma
Reducing allergy symptoms

Different phytochemicals have unique health benefits. This is why it is important to eat from the entire rainbow of plant colors.

For this season, focus on red and green fruits and vegetables for a wide variety of phytochemicals.

Here are some festive ideas for your holiday table:

Red: Tomatoes, radishes, red peppers, beets, red cabbage, red apples, red grapes, watermelon, cranberries and pomegranates.

Green: Leafy greens like spinach, kale or Swiss chard, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, green and Chinese cabbage, green apples, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, limes, and mint.

Find your creative side and combine red and green in a dish. Check out some of these recipes from talented Harmons chefs and dietitians for some ideas:

Green Bean Radicchio and Chicken Salad
French Chicken Roast
Strawberry and Blackberry Compote
Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad
Fresh Cranraspberry Sauce

For more information on phytochemical activity in all your favorite fruits and vegetables, check out the Produce for Better Health Foundation website.

Have a happy red and green holiday, everyone!