While we like to shine a spotlight on flavor (because… well, everyone likes to eat things that taste yummy). March is Nutrition Month so we wanted to chat about the amazing nutritional benefits you can find inside our produce. Before we introduce our antioxidant powerhouses, what are antioxidants? Collins dictionary defines it as “a substance which slows down the damage that can be caused to other substances by the effects of oxygen.”1 Essentially, foods that contain antioxidants are very good for you.
Meet our big four antioxidant powerhouses: tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and strawberries.
Did you know that tomatoes are where 80% of lycopene in the average American diet comes from?2 That’s great, but what’s lycopene? Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial in preventing certain types of cancer. It does this by protecting the body against free radicals. Think of free radicals as waste products from various chemical reactions in the cell that when built up, harm the cells of the body.3
Some studies have shown that lycopene helps prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers.4
Additional evidence suggests that cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, and cervix could be reduced with increased lycopene intake. 4
A 2012 study found that high levels of lycopene decreased the risk of stroke in test subjects.5
Roughly translated, tomatoes are a tasty, natural way to protect your body from one of the most hated, dreaded diseases on the planet.
Bell peppers are known for their antioxidant benefits because of their large number of carotenoids. Caro-wha!? Carotenoids have strong cancer-fighting properties. Some carotenoids are changed by the body to vitamin A, which is essential to vision and normal growth and development. They also have anti-inflammatory benefits and are sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease prevention.6
That’s a plethora of positivity packed into every SUNSET® pepper and plenty of new reasons to put them on your plate!
Cucumbers are 95 percent water, making them an ideal food to help keep you hydrated. But they’re not only good to eat to hydrate your body, they can be used on your skin too. Used directly on your skin, sliced cucumber has a cooling and soothing effect that decreases swelling, irritation, and inflammation. It can help soothe a sunburn too.
If your kids had you up late last night, placing two slices of cucumber on your eyes can help decrease morning puffiness. We’ll keep that last one as a little secret between the two of us.
WOW™ Berries are sweet, juicy and delicious! But there’s more to a strawberry than just flavor. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C. And what does this important vitamin do for you? Well… it can help ward off cancer, keep your crow’s feet at bay and give your immunity a boost!7
Strawberries naturally contain about 2g of fiber per serving. Fiber helps keep us regular (you know… 😉) and it helps to slow the absorption of sugars in the blood.7 Thanks strawberries!
Did you learn something new? It’s amazing that you can feed your body so well and still never sacrifice on flavor. Enjoy these healthy foods and chat with your doctor to learn more about the benefits of antioxidants and to get answers to all your health concerns relating to your diet.