Get your red on!

Enjoy the color red in what you eat

Papayas have what you’d expect, a myriad of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients, but the nutritional ante is upped when it comes to foods with red and orange pigments.

What tomatoes, watermelons, red peppers and papayas have in common. The color red gives more than a vibrant color. The naturally occurring orange and red pigments are called carotenoids.

Why carotenoids are important. Primary dietary carotenoids include lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene and beta-cryptoxanthin, all of which act as antioxidants in the body. As antioxidants, they tamp down inflammation and can be effective as cancer-fighting agents. Results from a variety of epidemiological studies indicate that a high intake of lycopene-rich foods can reduce the risk of several types of cancers, most notably prostate cancer.

Seeing red may make you mad. Eating red helps make you healthy.