Paint Your Plate Pink
In recent years advocates for breast cancer awareness have made pink the color of the month. It’s on the fashion pages and websites, flags, and pro football teams. Cities nationwide are illuminated with spotlights to cast a pink glow onto their skylines.
In counseling clients and talking to the wellness groups I work with, I encourage people to eat colorful foods—how about painting your plate pink? Some of the choices to add a splash of pink to the menu include guava, pink grapefruit, and pomegranates.
Guavas, considered the queen of fruits, were introduced in Florida in the 19th century. The guava is low in calories and contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavonoid compounds that play a key role in the prevention of cancers, aging, and infections. It is naturally high in vitamin C, containing significantly more of the vitamin than the orange. This fruit contains protein and is a good source of fiber. A cup of guava contains nearly twice the amount of fiber found in a cup of bran cereal.
The fruit’s flesh may be pink, white, yellow or red; pink guava contains nearly twice the amount of lycopene found in tomatoes. Lycopene is a naturally occurring chemical that gives pink guava its color. Studies suggest that lycopene prevents skin damage from UV rays and offers protection from prostate cancer.
Grapefruits are thought to be the result of natural cross breeding between the orange and pomelo citrus fruits. Also introduced in Florida, grapefruit became a viable commercial crop in the late 19th century. Available year ‘round, grapefruit is low in calories and high in vitamin C; one half grapefruit contains 80% of the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin. It is also a good source of Vitamin A.
Pink grapefruit which can range from pale to deep red in color also contains lycopene. Lycopene is the carotenoid responsible for the color and it is an antioxidant. Studies show that lycopene appears to have anti-tumor activity. In several studies consumption of foods high in lycopene have been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Although adding grapefruit to the diet is beneficial, it is important to check with your health care provider if you are taking any medications. Grapefuit can interfere with some medications.
Pomegranates have a rich and ancient history, believed to be one of the first cultivated fruits. Although the baseball-sized pomegranate requires a little work to enjoy, the flavor and health benefits are well worth the effort. They are low in calories, high in vitamin C, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, two antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.
Pomegranate seeds are enclosed in juice sacs or an aril (air rill) which is the botanical name for the covered seeds. The entire aril is edible; you can enjoy the juice, membrane, and the seeds or throw the seeds away. Traditionally to relish the goodness of the pomegranate, it was up to you to peel and separate the seeds from the fruit membrane. Today you can bypass the peeling and seeding step—you can buy the arils ready-to-eat.
Every month it is important for your daily diet to include a variety of fruits and vegetables. As you put together the fruit bowl this month, remember, think pink!
Take Away: Fruits and vegetables include generous amounts of nutrients that are beneficial. The fruits in this post are particularly good choices to help keep you in the pink of health.