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The importance of eating 'red' | Health

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The importance of eating 'red'
The importance of eating 'red'

February is the ultimate RED Month – American Heart Month, Valentine’s Day, and National Cherry Month. It’s a month to eat red and learn about all the benefits of crimson-colored foods.

Red foods contain powerful phytonutrients that are not only responsible for their bright red color, but also may help protect your heart.

Nutrition expert and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients (Rodale, 2008) Dr. Wendy Bazilian, MPH, RD, underscores the power of eating RED and why three key foods should be a part of your daily diet.


  • Tart cherries: Tart cherries’ bright red color comes from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants researchers have attributed to the fruit’s unique health properties, from anti-inflammatory and heart-health benefits, to reduced post-exercise muscle and joint pain.

Just four fruits account for nearly half of America’s daily fruit intake, but eating a variety of rich-colored fruit is essential to a healthy diet.  Available year-round as dried, frozen and juice, tart cherries are a versatile ingredient that adds a unique sweet-tart taste and eye-popping appeal to any dish. 

  • Tomatoes: Lycopene is the phytonutrient that gives tomatoes their red coloring.  Research shows that women with the highest intake of tomato-based foods have greater protection against heart disease. Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium and vitamin C, which adds to their heart-healthy appeal.
  • Red Cabbage: Similar to tart cherries, red cabbage also contains anthocyanins. They’re also a good source of vitamin c, which a recent study suggests may help people with heart failure live longer. And, this powerful vegetable has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels.


Dr. Bazilian, MPH, RD is the author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients (Rodale, 2008). She is also a contributor to the James Beard- and IACP-nominated Golden Door Cooks at Home (Clarkson Potter, 2010), and the New York Times Bestseller SuperFoodsRx (Harper Collins, 2004).  She is the Nutrition Author and Expert for Heal Your Skin (Wiley, 2011) and a frequent writer for the glossy magazines including Martha Stewart Living and is Nutrition Editor for Healing Lifestyles and Spas Magazine. Dr. Wendy is the Nutrition Advisor at the renowned Golden Door Spa in California since 2003.