Add a Little Color to Your Valentine’s Day Plate: Health-Boosting Red & White Superfoods
- Published: Monday, February 8th 2016
- in Nutrition
Roses are red, violets are blue, we’ve got some colorful superfoods for you! Do you ever pay attention to the color of your food? While most of us don’t typically focus on the color, unless we’re hosting a holiday-themed cocktail party or using artificial dye to make green eggs and ham, different colored foods actually impact our health in different ways. The credit goes to phytonutrients (also known as phytochemicals), the natural chemicals that occur in plants, lending a unique flavor, odor, and color. (Think: the beta-carotene that gives carrots their orange glow!)
And recent scientific studies have been emerging, showing that phytonutrients can actually benefit the overall health in our bodies, far beyond when the fork hits our mouth. That’s why we’re advocates of eating all the colors of the rainbow! But with Valentine’s Day just a week away, we’ve compiled a list of naturally red and white foods that not only look pretty, but are good for your health at the same time.
Phytonutrient-Rich Red Foods
Red foods tend to get their vibrant, deep color from lycopene and anthocyanin, and are known to keep the brain sharp, support healthy cell growth, manage blood pressure (a bonus for American Heart Month), and increase circulation in the body. Sorry, red velvet cupcakes don’t count!
- Red peppers
Add a Little Red to Your V-Day Menu
Heat up your romance with this Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup from The Oaks at Ojai in California, or keep it light and simple with this Pomegranate & Tangerine Salad from Golden Door Spa, Escondido, California. If you don’t mind the texture and taste of beets, we highly recommend starting the day on the right foot with this Red Zinger Detox Juice, courtesy of Kamalaya Koh Samui, a holistic spa in Thailand.
To impress your sweetie and satisfy your sweet tooth in a slightly healthier way, try making your own chocolate-covered strawberries with your favorite dark chocolate!
Phytonutrient-Rich White Foods
White foods are packed with phytochemicals like allicin and isothiocyanate, containing powerful nutrients like sulfur (which you can thank for garlic breath!). While sometimes stinky, these superfoods may just be your best friend during flu season, as they help boost the immune system by acting as a natural anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-viral. Not to mention they’ve been known to promote detox in the body, by flushing out icky toxins!
Add a Little White to Your V-Day Menu
Hosting a Valentine’s party for your friends? Start the night out with this Mushroom Paté, a crowd favorite from Australia’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat that combines onions with both shitake and button mushrooms for their medicinal, disease-fighting benefits! To warm the heart, you can’t go wrong with Creamy Cauliflower Soup from Golden Door Spa.
For the main meal, give this Miso Salmon Salad from Topnotch Resort & Spa in Vermont a try, as it’s dressed with lots of garlic and a to-die-for ginger lime vinaigrette. Sip on a hot cup of tummy-soothing ginger tea to improve your digestion post-meal.
What’s on your menu this Valentine’s Day? How could you add some extra color to your plate?
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Rachel Chemerynski is a certified health coach and freelance writer living in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the founder of Healthy Chicks, a wellness community dedicated to inspiring twenty-something women to live happier, healthier, more satisfying lives.
pomegranate image: courtesy of flickr, creative commons, geishaboy500; garlic image: courtesy of flickr, creative commons, issyeyre