Bored of the usual apples and bananas? Summer is a great time to perk up your taste buds with a variety of delicious summer fruits. Loaded with antioxidants and dietary fiber, fruits such as strawberries, peaches, plums and kiwi are ripe and ready to be eaten as we migrate from the couch to the beach. Naturally sweet and refreshing, these fruits are great substitutes for higher calorie desserts, or they can be added to any meal of the day to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and protect your vision.
Here are a few of Mother Nature’s
most nutrient dense and flavorful summer fruits:
Strawberries: contain numerous antioxidants such as polyphenols, which can help maintain normal blood sugar. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber. The antioxidant anthocyanin, which give strawberries their deep red color, are a very potent cancer protector.
Blackberries: one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet! They contain the same type of antioxidants found in strawberries and are also a rich source of Vitamin C and fiber. As for calories, 1 cup contains just 75 calories!
Watermelon: A great sources of Vitamin A, important for vision and eye health. It also contains a variety of B Vitamins such as Vitamin B6, which is needed for energy production. Some research has shown that the antioxidants in watermelon can help reduce asthma symptoms. This fruit is over 90% water, so it will keep you hydrated while out in the hot sun!
Figs: A great sources of calcium and potassium, figs are helpful to maintain healthy blood
pressure and prevent heart disease. This fruit is also a good digestive aid to reduce constipation which is linked to colon cancer prevention. These sweet gems naturally contain tryptophan, the same neurotransmitter found in turkey that is infamous for making you sleepy, allowing for a better night’s sleep.
Peaches: A delicious summer treat with a stellar nutrition profile. Containing Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium (just to name a few!), peaches
rank high on the list of the world’s most powerful food sources of antioxidants. Whether they are fuzzy or bald, grab a peach once a week and skip your regular multivitamin supplement.
Ways to eat your favorite summer
- Add raspberries to Greek yogurt
- Blueberries with cottage cheese
- Dip strawberries into melted dark chocolate for a
- Grill peaches outside and add fresh whipped cream
for a flavor boost
- Blend yogurt, milk and berries into smoothies as
a light meal or snack
- Serve cut melon with a fat-free yogurt and agave
nectar sauce for dipping
- Add berries, peach slices and mandarin oranges to
your favorite salad
- Make homemade fruit spreads (jelly) with your
- Pair a piece of fresh fruit with a portion of
nuts for a balanced snack
- Top cooked berries or peaches on angel food cake
for added sweetness
- Add sweetness to chicken or pork entrees with
diced mango or papaya
Gail Wikler, RD, CDN
Princeton Longevity Center, Shelton CT