How to Use Red Fruit and Enjoy the Health Benefits
Recently, I started changing the way I look at food. Literally. I started choosing my groceries based on color schemes. As silly as that may sound, color is actually an incredibly useful tool when it comes to choosing nutritional food with a variety of health benefits. The result? I feel better than ever! Eating more colorful foods has caused me to have more energy and I swear my immune system has been rejuvenated (an awesome side effect of eating more vitamin C). The best part is, all of the potassium and fiber-rich produce help fill me up, reduce my cravings and even lower my blood pressure.
Colorful produce, such as red fruits (my favorite), contain a range of vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies. These include Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin and hesperidin, to name a few. The phytonutrients found within red fruits and vegetables also contain various properties that can help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers. Don’t believe me? Hear it from the experts from the United States Department of Agriculture. Many red fruits also contain folic acid, which is great for women who are pregnant because it helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
The Best Ways to Use Red Fruit
We’ve all been in that situation where we get excited and buy a bunch of fresh fruit at the store, but then we end up letting it go bad. The key is to use more fruit when you’re cooking. I’ve found that one of the secrets for including more fruit in my diet is to have a reliable, easy-to-use knife set in my kitchen. Check out this guide from AddonKitchen to find some tips on how to choose the best knife set for your needs based on Chicago Cutlery Insignia reviews (a great brand for kitchen knives). Another tip from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is to simply keep fruit where you can see it throughout the day.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite red fruit and some ideas on how to use them in everyday meals. These foods can be eaten fresh or incorporated into simple, wholesome recipes in a short amount of time. I’ve used these red fruit ideas frequently, with wonderful feedback from my body! If something doesn’t sound good, change it up to suit your tastes and don’t be afraid to get creative.
Apples come in a range of colors, but red apples are especially sweet and full of healthy nutrients, including dietary fiber, antioxidants and flavonoids. Research shows that apples are also heart-healthy and very low in calories, but they can still fill you up and keep you fuller for longer. If you’re bored of eating plain apples, there’s a lot you can do with them. My favorite thing is cooking them in the oven.
Baking. Apples are wonderfully sweet options for baking recipes, including apple crisps, oatmeal apple cookies and stuffed baked apples. For stuffed apples, just scoop out the center and put in a mixture of brown sugar, butter, nutmeg and cinnamon; bake in a dish with water or apple juice for about 40 minutes in an oven at 350 degrees until soft and yummy.
What’s more delicious than a fresh, juicy slice of watermelon on a hot summer day? Watermelon is about 92% water, which is a benefit in and of itself, considering water is one of the most important things for our bodies. Watermelon is also full of vitamins and very low in calories, so it can be a great healthy snack. Watermelon is lovely by itself, but it can also be used for refreshing dishes and drinks.
Salads. Chop up fresh watermelon into cubes and throw them in with some cucumber, mint and lime juice. For a savory twist, toss in some sliced red onion, olive oil and feta cheese.
Coolers and slushies. Blend watermelon chunks (seedless) into a blender along with some fresh lemonade and fresh mint. Throw in some ice for extra slush, or serve over ice cubes for the perfect refreshing summer drink.
Raspberries and strawberries are my absolute favorite sweet treats. They’re packed full of fiber, which helps for digestive health, and they can also help lower bad cholesterol. I enjoy having berries with my oatmeal in the mornings; they can be enjoyed in dozens of different ways. Pomegranate seeds also deserve an honorable mention here, as they also contain lots of vitamins and taste great in salads or as a juice.
Smoothies. Mix together fresh and frozen raspberries and strawberries in a blender with coconut or almond milk, frozen banana and Greek yogurt for a sweet, creamy breakfast. Add in some beets for extra antioxidants and folic acid. For a rainbow of more healthy smoothie ideas, check out these recipes from Simple Healthy Kitchen (simplehealthykitchen.com)
Cold treats. Berries are also wonderful for mixing with plain Greek yogurt or freezing into popsicles. Try blending together strawberries, bananas and pineapple juice and putting them into a popsicle mold for a frozen, low calorie dessert. You can also use yogurt and chia seeds for extra creaminess.
Cherries are the unsung red fruit heroes of the produce rainbow spectrum. They’re rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanin, which can help reduce pain and inflammation. They’ve also been shown to help fight diabetes and arthritis. Forget the sugary, sticky versions – eat cherries fresh as a snack or use fresh or preserved cherries to add sweetness and tartness to salads, sauces and desserts.
Savory dishes. Cherries make wonderful pairings with chicken and pork dishes. Try combining pitted fresh cherries with orange juice and fresh or dried herbs; bake them in an oven preheated to 459 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes for a flavorful cherry sauce.
Preserved treats and snacks. Try freezing cherries to be used in smoothies or cobblers, or use dried cherries for trail mix or salads. Pickled cherries and cherry jam are also lovely when combined with whole grain bread or ice cream in moderation.
Cleaning Up Your Diet? Eat a Rainbow of Food
Thinking of cleaning up your diet and taking advantage of the vast range of health benefits from colorful foods, such as red fruits? Start by paying more attention to color variety, vibrancy and freshness while you’re grocery shopping in the produce section. Equip yourself with a great kitchen knife and tool set, and start experimenting with new recipes. Eat a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables to fully enjoy the health benefits from the whole food rainbow.
Author Bio: Monica Henin
I’m Monica a traditional Asian woman, founder of Addon Kitchen, and I’m absolutely in love with food & kitchen utensil blogs. I’m a foodie and like cooking for my small family. Being the mother of 2 kids one boy and girl. My husband is an electrician, my small family lives in Chicago IL.