Food/Nutrition Columnist
Deck the Halls with Red and Green Healthy Foods
Dec 17, 2017 - 7:13:46 AM

( - Red
and Green are traditional holiday colors but they also signal some of nature’s most power-packed foods. Make an effort to add healthy red and green foods to your meals and snacks during this hectic holiday season.

Ruby Red Grapefruit are readily available when the weather turns cold. Half a grapefruit offers more than half of your daily need for vitamin C, a decent dose of the fiber pectin which helps lower cholesterol, along with very few calories, just 52. Lycopene, the pigment responsible for the fruit’s rosy color, is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce the risk for heart disease and prostate cancer. Think beyond breakfast and add red grapefruit sections to a leafy green salad.

Red d’Anjou Pears should be enjoyed unpeeled to get the value of the phytochemicals, anthocyanins and triterpenoids, found in the skin that have anti-inflammatory properties. Pears are packed with insoluble fiber and potassium. They pair naturally with cheese but slice a red pear, sprinkle the slices with a little brown sugar, a few raisins and nuts and microwave for two minutes for a delicious healthy dessert.

Red Bell Pepper provide over 300% of your daily need for vitamin C. Some research has shown this vitamin may help to reduce osteoarthritis of the knee and prevent colds. Eat red peppers sliced as a snack, add to a stir fry or soup, or stuff and bake.

Pomegranates are available from September through February and are associated with holidays and prosperity in many cultures. Their ruby red seeds, called arils, are rich in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C. A half cup of arils has 72 calories and can be used as a snack, sprinkled on cereal or salads or added to fish dishes for a tart-tasting pop of color.

Green Kiwis are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, fiber and potassium and are available year round. They contain the enzyme actinidin, similar to bromelain in pineapple and papain in papaya, all of which reduce inflammation. Researchers have shown that eating two kiwis a day can naturally reduce chronic constipation. Simply cut a kiwi in half, scoop with a spoon and eat. Australians and New Zealanders eat kiwis whole, skin and all. Add to salads, smoothies or salsa for a healthy boost.

Artichokes are rich in folic acid, fiber and manganese and rank near the top of the list of fruits and vegetables for antioxidant properties. The fiber in artichokes along with the phytochemicals luteolin and cynarin help to lower cholesterol. Artichokes are rich in the prebiotic fiber inulin which helps to nourish the good bacteria in your intestinal tract which are a great line of defense against infections. The favored way to eat this healthy vegetable is simmered in seasoned water and served with your favorite dipping sauce, scraping the meaty flesh off each leaf till you reach the delicious heart.

Spinach can be used in endless ways – salad, soups, stir-fries, sandwich garnish – and Popeye was right it is rich in iron. Spinach may be one of the healthiest foods on earth loaded with vitamins A, C, K and folic acid (a B vitamin), along with manganese, magnesium and potassium. It also supplies large amounts of eye-healthy lutein and zeaxanthin which lowers the risk for cataract development.

Green Leafy Romaine Lettuce has only 16 calories in two cups, but this serving offers over 70% of your daily need for vitamin K, over 50% of vitamin A and one-third of your needed vitamin C and folic acid. Romaine lettuce also promotes eye health with ample amounts of beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin that helps filter high-energy light waves that damage eyes. Think beyond salads and add chopped Romaine to a stir fry or marinate and grill hearts whole for a vegetable twist at dinner.

© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of 30 books. Available as eBooks from iTunes and Kindle/Amazon:

Diabetes Counter

Calorie Counter

Protein Counter

Healthy Wholefoods Counter

Complete Food Counter

Fat and Cholesterol Counter

Available in print from Gallery Books:

Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd Ed.

Your Complete Food Counter App:

For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to:


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