Get Fresh with Summer's Hottest Fruits
What isn’t there to love about summer? Beautiful sunny skies, long lazy days spent out of doors, barbeques, the beach…and the anticipation of getting to eat many of my favorite seasonal fruits!
Heading to the farmer’s market is a mouth-watering way to spend a summer’s day, exploring all the fruits the season has to offer. Buying your produce in-season is also less expensive, helps to support local business, and is environmentally friendly, reducing energy emissions that result from the necessity of shipping distantly grown fruits.
But what I love most about summer fruits (even more than their great taste) is knowing that I am encouraging my family to eat fresh, organic, unprocessed foods. Coming up with enticing recipes that incorporate these delicious eats, or simply biting into a fresh, juicy peach on a hot August day, just epitomizes the season for me.
My food philosophy is simple: Power up your life with whole food energy. Eating clean, real foods that are close to nature is the best way to fuel your body.
Here are some “get fresh” facts and tips for my favorite summer fruits:
-One apple provides 15% of the Daily Value for fiber which has been shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol
-Apples are the only fruit proven to reduce lung cancer in women
-Full of antioxidants and flavonoids that support heart health
Get fresh tip: Apples with peanut butter contain the ideal ratio of protein to carbs, making it a perfect, filling mid-day snack.
-Blueberries: A study by Tufts University ranked blueberries the #1 fruit to destroy free radicals in the body
-Strawberries: One study found people who consumed a diet loaded with strawberries were 3x less likely to develop cancer compared to those eating few or no strawberries
-Rasberries: 50% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C in one serving
Get fresh tip: Berries taste great paired with yogurt or sprinkled on top of morning oatmeal!
-Good source of both water soluble Vitamin C, and fat soluble Vitamin E, optimizing this fruit’s ability to fight against free radicals
-Studies show that eating 2-3 kiwis a day can help reduce harmful blood clotting and triglyceride levels
-Rich in minerals -- potassium, magnesium, copper and phosphorus
Get fresh tip: Slice up some kiwis with other fruits and make fruit kabobs for a great healthy barbeque alternative!
-Papain (digestive enzyme) found in papaya is widely used as a treatment for sports injuries
-High in folate, potassium and dietary fiber
-One serving provides 313% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C to prevent artherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease
Get fresh tip: Dice up some papaya salsa -- a delicious addition to fish tacos.
Peaches & Nectarines
-Good source of iron and potassium
-Shown to aid in digestion
-Contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two components great for eye health
Get fresh tip: Delicious on their own, or try my recipe for “Simple Summer-Glazed Grilled Peaches”: Grill one halved peach sprinkled with 1 tbsp. brown sugar and 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon, and serve with a scoop of light vanilla ice cream!
-Bromelain, a compound found in pineapples, has been show to reduce inflammation, blood clotting, and tumor growth
-1 cup of mango provides 128% of the Daily Value of manganese, an important mineral for antioxidant strength and energy production
-High in Vitamin C to help with healthy immune system function
Get fresh tip: Try my Pineapple Lemon Bliss Smoothie: Blend 1/4 lemon (peeled), 3/4 cup of fresh pineapple, 1 cup almond, hemp or organic 1% milk, 3/4 cup ice.
-Flavonoids, which give grapes their dark color, have been shown to lower LDL levels and reduce the risk of heart disease
-Contains pterostilbene, a cholesterol lowering antioxidant
-Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in red grapes, has been shown to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Get fresh tip: Rinse your grapes and throw them in the freezer for a cool, sweet treat.
-Lycopene, a carotenoid found in watermelon, has been proven to effectively fight against various cancers including breast, lung, prostate, colorectal and endometrial cancer
-Rich in B6 and B1 vitamins
-Contains beta-carotene and vitamins A and C to reduce symptoms of asthma and arthritis
Get fresh tip: To reduce your risk of prostate cancer, have a cup of iced green tea with your watermelon. One study found that men who combined these two nutritional powerhouses lowered their risk of prostate cancer by 86%.