Red Vegetables: How Healthy are They?
Red Bell peppers, tomatoes, red cabbage, beets have something in common; they all come under red vegetables. Red vegetables get their colour from pigments like lycopene and anthocyanin. They are also potent antioxidants.
In addition, they contain nutrients such as vitamin A and vitamin C. Moreover, they have essential minerals and fibre. Hence they are vital for overall good health.
What are Red Vegetables?
Red vegetables include tomatoes, red onion, beetroots, red pepper and red cabbage. The phytonutrients that give them the red colour offers potent health benefits. They also contain fibre, vitamin A, C, and minerals. These can be beneficial to you in many ways. The deep dark colour of vegetables indicates the presence of phytonutrients. These nutrients help strengthen your immunity. They can also prevent cancer, obesity, chronic illnesses and furthermore.
Lycopene, an antioxidant in red vegetables, which can prevent heart disease and cancer. It can also help prevent various infectious diseases. For example, it prevents eye infection, blurred vision, skin rashes etc. Tomatoes, beetroot and red cabbage, are full of lycopene. Another antioxidant called quercetin, which helps prevent flu symptoms and allergies.
Red vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients. So fill your plate with these vegetables. They can help you balance out your diet and also provide several benefits. Let us explore a few red vegetables along with their health benefits.
Research suggests that beetroots are vegetables with the highest antioxidant content. Therefore, they can protect our cells from damage by free radicals. Hence they prevent diseases like cancer. In addition, they have a high nutrient value. They are full of essential minerals and vitamins. Moreover, beetroots are rich in potassium, folate, and fibre. They also contain vitamin C and nitrates.
Nutritional Value of Beetroot
100 grams of boiled beetroot contains:
- Calories: 44 kcals
- Protein: 1.7 g
- Fat: 0.2 g
- Carbs: 10 g
- Fibre: 2 g
They also contain reasonable amounts of folate, vitamin C, B, and iron.
Health Benefits of Beetroot
Beets have a rich folate content, which plays a vital role in the growth and overall health. Folate is essential for the formation of DNA and RNA. In addition, they are also critical for haemoglobin synthesis because haemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying pigment in blood. Furthermore, folate deficiency can result in multiple diseases like anaemia, breathlessness, dizziness etc.
Anthocyanins and betalains are antioxidants present in beets. These antioxidants prevent oxidative stress in cells. They do so by, preventing free radicals from damaging our cells. Therefore they help in preventing many conditions. Be it infections, inflammation or obesity. In addition, antioxidants are known to prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Beet also has manganese and copper, which are vital minerals for synthesising bone cells and neurotransmitters. Thus, it is essential for brain and bone health. They also contain high levels of nitrates. These nitrates help to dilate your blood vessels. Meaning they help to widen the arteries of the heart. It helps in the smooth flow of blood through the heart. Studies suggest that nitrates can maintain optimum blood pressure.
2. Red Cabbage
Anthocyanins present in cabbage gives them their red colour. These antioxidants protect you from brain diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, cabbage is rich in vitamins and minerals. Moreover, fibre, potassium, and manganese are also present.
Nutritional Value of Red Cabbage
100 grams of steamed or boiled red cabbage contains:
- Energy: 12kcals
- Protein: 0.6g
- Fat: 0.2g
- Dietary fibre: 1.8g
- Carbohydrate: 1.8g
They also contain fair amounts of folate, vitamin C, K and potassium.
Health Benefits of Red Cabbage
Red cabbage is rich in vitamin K. It is required for blood clotting. Hence, it prevents bleeding disorders. In addition, it can also reduce blood cholesterol and oxidative stress in the body cells.
Calcium, magnesium, and zinc are present in trace amounts. They are essential for bone growth. It also has reasonable amounts of fibre. The fibre helps to improve digestion. It also keeps you feeling full for longer. Thus, it prevents overeating or unhealthy bingeing and helps keep your weight under control.
Red cabbage also contains sulforaphane. It has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it prevents inflammatory disorders like arthritis, osteoporosis etc.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant. It gives tomatoes their bright red colour. Tomatoes are 95% water, and the other 5% contains essential minerals and vitamins. Potassium, vitamins B and E are also present.
Nutritional Value of Tomatoes
As per USDA, 100 grams of raw tomato contains:
- Calories: 18kCals
- Carbohydrates: 3.9g
- Fibre: 1.2g
- Fat: 0.2g
- Protein: 0.9g
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Lycopene present in tomatoes helps lower bad cholesterol in your blood. However, excess unhealthy fats can block the arteries. Therefore, the blood flow is disturbed. It results in increased blood pressure. Ultimately it can cause a stroke.
Lycopene also suppresses oxidative stress. As a result, it prevents inflammation in bone, muscles, skin and nerves. Therefore, it avoids bone disorders. It also promotes the formation of collagen fibres in the skin. As a result, it helps to retain skin firmness. In addition, it prevents wrinkling of the skin. It also prevents skin discolouration.
Cancer can occur due to radical cell damage. Antioxidants in tomatoes help to reduce cell injury. It helps prevent cancer. Research suggests that lycopene helps to reduce the risk of lung, stomach and skin cancer. Tomatoes also contain a pigment carotenoid. It has anti-carcinogenic properties. That means that it can help suppress cancer. It also prevents the growth or spread of cancer. Carotenoids can be effective against breast cancer.
4. Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers are one of the highest sources of vitamin C. They contain vitamin A and B complex. Additionally, they also contain antioxidants and fibres. Therefore, they protect your body from various diseases.
Nutritional Value of Red Bell Pepper
100 grams of red bell pepper contains:
- Calories: 39 kcals
- Fat: 0.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 9 g
- Fibre: 3.1 g
- Protein: 1.5 g
They also contain fair amounts of vitamin C and B.
Health Benefits of Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers contain high levels of vitamin A, a vital element for eyesight. It helps improve vision. They are also high in antioxidants, which prevent various diseases ranging from infections to cancer. For example, lycopene, an antioxidant in red bell pepper, can prevent lung and prostate cancer.
Red bell pepper has high Vitamin A, C, and lycopene concentrations. Vitamin C helps strengthen immunity, and all three compounds’ combined effects ensure overall health.
Red bell peppers may also help in weight loss because they contain reasonable amounts of fibre, which helps delay hunger. Therefore it may reduce food cravings, and reduce binge eating.
5. Red Onions
Onions are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Studies suggest that onions contain flavonoids, an antioxidant. As we know, antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage in cells. As a result, red onions may prevent multiple disorders like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease etc. They also contain anthocyanins. It is an antioxidant and colour giving pigment for onion.
Nutritional Value of Red Onions
100 grams of onion contains:
- Calories: 40 kcals
- Carbohydrates: 9.3 g
- Fibre: 1.7 g
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Protein: 1.1 g
Health Benefits of Red Onion
One of the most potent antioxidants in onions is quercetin. It prevents inflammation. Additionally, it also strengthens your immunity. Onions also show antibacterial properties. As a result, it helps prevent the growth of various microbes. Onions contain fructooligosaccharides, a prebiotic substance. As a result, onions encourage the development of healthy microorganisms in the gut. They help in the digestion process. Prebiotics remain undigested and feed beneficial bacteria. The deficiency of these healthy microbes can trigger multiple diseases. It includes diabetes, depression, intestinal cancer etc.
Onions contain a sulphur compound named Onionin. It can have antitumor properties. A study shows that it can prevent ovarian and lung cancer growth. Antioxidants in onion include fisetin and quercetin, which also help prevent tumour growth.
Ways to Include Red Vegetables in Your Diet
Most red vegetables are a staple across the world. You can eat them raw or include them in sandwiches, salads, wraps etc. In addition, you can cook, steam or boil them. Furthermore, you can prepare a wide variety of dishes using red vegetables.
Healthy Recipes Using Red Vegetables
Red vegetables are an essential part of a healthy and nutritious diet. People who include a variety of red vegetables have strong immunity. As a result, they may be less prone to some chronic disorders. Here are a few healthy recipes you can try out.
Red Vegetable Salad
This recipe includes red cabbage, beets, red carrots. These veggies are full of nutrients and offer all the benefits of red vegetables. You can serve it as a meal or an accompaniment for a meal or sandwich.
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Serves: 2
- Red cabbage (sliced): Half cup
- Beetroot (chopped): Half cup
- Red bell pepper (chopped): 1/4th of a cup
- Tomatoes (chopped): Half cup
- Carrots (chopped): Half cup
- Almonds: 1tbsp
- Pumpkin seeds: ½ tbsp
- Olive oil: 1tbsp
- Lime juice: 1tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper: 1tsp
- Add all the vegetables to a big bowl and leave it aside.
- Add olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice and honey to a small bowl
- Mix or whisk well
- Pour this dressing into the vegetables
- Toss well
Red Vegetable soup
Soup is one of the simple and fantastic dishes. You can prepare it with several ingredients. However, this nutritious and warm red vegetable soup is light and nourishing.
- Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Red bell pepper: ½ cup (chopped)
- Tomato: ½ cup (Chopped)
- Red onion: ½ cup (Chopped)
- Red cabbage: ½ cup (Chopped)
- Grated garlic: 2tsp
- Carrots sliced: ¼ cup
- Olive oil: 1tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Pepper (crushed): 1tsp
- Vegetable stock: 2 cups
- Drizzle some olive oil to a heated pan.
- Add grated garlic and onion and sauté well.
- Now, add the chopped vegetables and stir well.
- Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth.
- Bring to a boil.
- Simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add salt and crushed pepper and stir well.
- Serve and enjoy.
Potential Side Effects
Consuming red vegetables in moderation and recommended doses do not have any harmful side effects. However, excessive consumption can be detrimental. If you have allergies or sensitivity, it can result in uneasiness. Symptoms include:
- Severe constipation.
It can also result in nutrient deficiency. Consult your physician immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms.
Plant pigments and other compounds in the plant may cause discolouration in your urine. For example, compounds in beets and red cabbage can change your urine to pink or red. However, this may not be harmful to health in any way.
Histamine is a compound in tomatoes. Excess consumption may result in allergies or rashes. The symptoms include swelling around the mouth, tongue and face. Runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes etc.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable. It has goitrogenic properties. Meaning they may worsen thyroid disorders. Studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables can reduce thyroid function further. Therefore, if you have thyroid disease, it is not advisable to take cabbage. Other adverse effects associated with cabbage include flatulence and diarrhoea.
All red vegetables impart vital benefits for your overall health. Every part of the red vegetable may be nutrient-dense. In addition, the skins of red vegetables contain phytochemicals, which can have anticancer properties. Red coloured vegetables have potent antioxidants, offering several health benefits like preventing many diseases. These diseases include hypertension, cardiac conditions, cancer, diabetes etc. As a result, red vegetables may promote better health. Although there are supplements for lycopene and other phytochemicals, fresh vegetables are the best way to get them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What nutrients are in red vegetables?
Red vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium. Red food also contains healthy and powerful antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins.
How do red foods help your body?
Red fruits and vegetables have powerful, healthy antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins. They help to control cholesterol levels, prevent cancer, obesity, chronic illness, and many more.
What colour vegetables are the healthiest?
Vegetables having red, orange and dark green colours are healthiest. These 3 colours are associated with rich nutrients and antioxidants that are good for health. Red food contains antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart diseases. Green food contains glucosinolates that reduce the risk of cancer. Orange vegetables contain alpha-carotene (a type of Vitamin A) that prevents the growth of cancer cells.
Are red foods good for the blood?
Red and orange foods are rich in iron. Iron promotes the production of red blood cells in the body which are needed to transport oxygen in the bodyv. Foods like red pepper, carrots are best for increasing blood levels.
What is the healthiest red fruit?
Apples are the best source of fibre, antioxidants, and many other nutrients. It is considered one of the most popular red fruits. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and eating tomatoes frequently can reduce the risk of coronary disease by 26%.
Are beets high in antioxidants?
Yes, according to an analysis beets provide you with 1.78mmol antioxidants per 100g. They are rich in rutin, epicatechin, and caffeic acid which are known as highly bioactive phenolics.
Who should avoid beetroot?
You must avoid taking beetroot if you have low blood pressure. Beetroots tend to lower blood pressure levels. They can also aggravate skin allergies like skin rashes, hives, and itching. Prevent taking beetroot if you show the following symptoms.
What are the benefits of red vegetables?
Red vegetables consist of vitamin C and antioxidants like Lycopene. These good nutrients prevent many chronic diseases like heart diseases, cancer, etc.
What vitamin does red fruit have?
Red fruits like apple, tomatoes, pomegranate, and strawberries are filled with Vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also contain potassium and powerful antioxidants.