What a beautiful color! Are you seeing it? It’s really all around us these days, especially in the month that’s been so dedicated to the heart… from National Wear Red Day to Valentine’s Day… Red hearts & roses, and so much more! But what about this color red? Why so special? …So nourishing?
Let’s see, then, (and taste!) its goodness, as we appreciate the gifts we’re given, now wrapped in beautiful reds, this month & every month…
…Good phytochemicals (or “plant”chemicals), that is! …which are natural compounds that exist within plants, helping to safeguard them from disease – and believed to help us, as well. However, these bio-active chemicals (+others) are actually part of an extremely complex system, with thousands & thousands(+) of them existing & cooperating, all within our natural food supply… which means they’re still well-beyond our true understanding or control, and in need of ongoing scientific study for lots of reasons. Yet, there is evidence of their ability to work against harmful free radicals, infection, inflammation, abnormal cell growth, & more. Therefore, phytochemicals (or really the foods rich in phytochemicals) do appear to offer many health benefits; subsequently linked to an amazing potential for decreasing the risks of disease; such as the risks for heart disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity, diabetes, macular degeneration, and certain cancers.
Designed to help defend & protect!
But how. then, can we begin (if ever) to figure them all out… by the tens, or hundreds, or even thousands within our food?! …This is where the gift also lies — in living color — because phytochemicals are associated with COLOR! Therefore, different compounds are present & active within different colors in nature (in plants = vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, spices, grains)… Which finally brings us back to our current theme of RED.
…And here, then, is a quick sample of just 10 of the many phytochemicals our beautifully BOLD reds can deliver. Though, ultimately, it can all come down to one simple word… But, first, our ten:
● Anthocyanins: in red onion, red beans/kidney beans, red potato, beets, currants, radicchio, radishes, rhubarb (+more)
● Beta-carotene: in red (& orange) carrots, watermelon (+)
● Chlorogenic acid: in cherry juice (+)
● Ellagic acid: in cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates (+)
● Fenulic acid: in tomatoes, red grapefruit/citrus, red grapes/wine, carrots, raspberries (+)
● Lycopene: in tomatoes, peppers, guava (+)
● Proanthocyanidins: in apples, strawberries, red grapes & wines, cranberries (+)
● Punicalagin: in pomegranate fruit & juice (+)
● Quercetin: in apples, dark grapes, cherries & berries (+more)
● Resveratrol: in red grapes, grape juice, red wine, berries (+more)
Yet, herein lies the wisdom & beauty of just 1 simple word — a word we’ve heard all our lives (without ever needing to know the name of a phytochemical whatsoever!): “VARIETY” …a variety of plant foods, in a variety of colors… with no real need, therefore, to complicate, nor get a degree in biochemistry [or in theology] in order to benefit from all God has to offer and wants to give… Beauty & nourishment found and enjoyed — in color, in balance & moderation, in relationship — in real food!
Praise to the One!
Praise to the One whose love entices the wandering, beckons the confused.
Praise to the One whose love grows wings on the weary, dreams hope in the discouraged.
Praise to the One whose love soothes with the ointment of mercy, transforms with the touch of compassion.
Praise to the One whose love threads the energy of friendship, stitches the strength of fidelity.
Praise to the One whose love tickles the soul with laughter, urges the heart toward joy.
All praise to this Gracious One. All gratitude to this Beloved. All love to this Mentor of Friendship.
All devotion to this Shaper of Hearts!
[Prayer source: catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=2964]
PS: Hope you enjoy your 2 Dozen Reds! Stay tuned for more colors to come.–EF
©2014.–The Way to Nourish for Life RD. [Related post: “Get Back to Where We Once Belonged” ]
Note: Please refer to ABOUT section of “The Way to Nourish for Life” for caveat.
Just for fun, this post is linked to Sunday Snippets−A Catholic Carnival