What would Valentine’s Day be without pretty-in-pink sugar cookies and fire engine–red cupcakes? But while these bright bites are festive, they might not be the best thing for our bodies. A growing body of evidence has linked artificial food dyes to health risks ranging from allergy-like reactions to ADHD and even cancer.
Here’s the good news, though: There’s no need to completely break up with colorful desserts—instead, whip them up using all-natural dyes derived from turmeric, beets, and spirulina.
Our hands-down favorite is ColorKitchen’s Beet Red powder. It’s a safe alternative to the most commonly used petroleum-based dye in the U.S.—Red 40—which has been shown to accelerate the growth of immune-system tumors in mice.
To get perfect, nontoxic food coloring in three easy steps:
- Dissolve 1 packet of powder in a couple drops of water or glycerin. (For fiery red, mix together Beet Red and Yellow. For pink, use the Beet Red color on its own.)
- Mix thoroughly with a spoon.
- Blend into your recipe of choice.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho