Red/Pink Fruits/Vegs & Ca Prvntn

Eating Red Fruits and Vegetables May Help Prevent Cancer

NCI Promotes Eating Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Lycopene and Anthocyanins

Deep red or bright pink fruits and vegetables should be eaten every day, recommends the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Nutrition research shows that red and bright pink fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, such as lycopene and anthocyanins. Phytochemicals, substances found only in plants, help your body fight disease and promote good health.

Lycopene (pronounced LIKE-oh-peen) helps reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Watermelons, pink grapefruits, and tomato-based products such as spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, and tomato juice are all good sources of lycopene. "One out of every six men in America will be affected by prostate cancer," says Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, Director of NCI's 5 A Day for Better Health Program.

"Men who want to reduce their risk of prostate cancer should eat foods rich in lycopene as part of their recommended 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day."

Other red fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, raspberries, and beets contain anthocyanins (pronounced an-tho-SIGH-uh-nins), a group of phytochemicals that are powerful antioxidants that help control high blood pressure and protect against diabetes-related circulatory problems.

Best Sources of Lycopene

Spaghetti Sauce

Tomato Juice

Tomato Paste

Tomato Soup




Fresh Tomato

Best 'Red' Sources of Anthocyanins

Red Raspberries

Sweet Cherries



Red Apples

Red Cabbage

Red Onion

Kidney Beans

Red Beans

"There are thousands of health promoting phytochemicals found in plants and that's why it's so important to eat a wide variety of colorful - orange, red, green, white, and blue - fruits and vegetables every day," says Dr. DiSogra.

"By eating fruits and vegetables from each color group, you will benefit from the unique array of phytochemicals, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer."

"Remember, the more colors the better...whether choosing colorful fruits and vegetables at the supermarket or when eating out," adds Dr. DiSogra. "Keep in mind, women should strive to eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and men should strive for 9."

Enjoy cup of raspberries, sweet cherries, cranberries, or strawberries, or go to the 5 A Day Web site at for recipes such as the "Creamy Tomato-Pepper Pasta" which also features some favorite red powerhouses.


The National Cancer Institute is a world leader in biomedical cancer research and the national health authority for the 5 A Day For Better Health Program.

The 5 A Day Program encourages all Americans to eat 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruit a day to promote health and reduce risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

For additional information on the 5 A Day For Better Health Program, visit

Thanks to

Lutein/Zeaxanthin Microgram Values for Some Foods

Source: USDA

Dried, Encapsulated Fruit & Vegetable Juice Concentrate.

J Nutr, 10/06

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