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Healthy Summer Fruits and Vegetables
Summer is one of the best times to saturate your system with super-nutrients, and stuff yourself to the gills with healthy summer fruits and veggies. Plants are soaking up the sun, funneling all their energy into the next generation — tasty morsels that will make you stronger, healthier and happier.
What, exactly, is in season during the summer It’s tough to tell. Globalization means an almost endless supply of healthy summer fruits and veggies that denies seasonal variations. When it’s cold up north, summer delights can be shipped from the sunny southern hemisphere. The end result is a nation (or nations) of northerners with only a vague concept of seasonality.
Fear not, however, for we’re here to tell you what’s in season this summer. Here are healthy summer fruits and veggies for you to enjoy.
Why buy seasonally?
- It’s better for the environment. Seasonal produce is usually grown locally. Less shipping means less pollution and wasted energy.
- It tastes better. Seasonal produce is typically picked at its peak, not picked early and then ripened in transport.
- It’s better for you. The theory goes something like this: Vine-ripened tomatoes harbor more nutrients than those that got their color in the back of a truck.
So visit your local farmer’s market with cash in hand to pick up some healthy summer fruits and veggies. It’ll be good for you.
Blueberries: Doctors call them “brainberries.” OK, maybe they don’t, but they should because blueberries have been shown to boost brainpower. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston found that a diet rich in blueberries prevented dementia and boosted memory in rats as they aged. So, when you’re berry shopping, go organic; berries are thin-skinned and tend to soak up pesticides.
Cherries: I cannot tell a lie: Cherries are bursting with flavor and high in vitamin C. And despite their role in a great presidential American legend, they were first cultivated in ancient Persia.
Peaches: The peach is native to China and was probably first cultivated there thousands of years ago. Since then, many varieties have been raised, but none are of the giant variety. They are tasty, but not a significant source of any one vitamin or mineral.
Raspberries: Raspberries can be found all over the world and the plants from which they spring go by many different names. Like most berries, they are very high in antioxidants, the chemicals that keep your body from falling apart at the molecular level. And they taste good too.
Basil: Basil has become inextricably tied to Italian food, but it’s native to India. And in that country, it’s prescribed as a treatment for stress, asthma and diabetes. Modern science is just beginning to catch on to what the ancient Indian doctors have known since before the time of the Buddha: Compounds in basil have been shown to have potent antioxidant, anti-aging, anticancer, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
Beets: Beets have become all the rage in culinary circles. They’re great steamed and served thinly sliced in a cool summer salad. They also happen to be an ancient panacea. Beetroot has been prescribed throughout the ages as an aphrodisiac, fever reliever and laxative.
Broccoli: It’s in the cabbage family, but it tends to be a whole lot tastier and better for you than its pale-green relative. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. Peak harvesting season for broccoli is late summer, July to September.
Spinach: Popeye wasn’t just a marketing ploy. The sailor’s spinach-derived superhuman powers are based on the vegetable’s potent nutritional value. Ounce for ounce, spinach contains more nutrients than any other food. It’s got tons of vitamin A, carotene, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin C, and vitamin K. This sublime vegetable really packs a punch.
Zucchini: It’s a good low-calorie summer treat and contains vitamin A, folate and manganese. And when we say low-calorie, we mean it: 100 grams of zucchini only contains 15 calories.
good summer eating
With rising fuel prices and concerns over global warming, seasonal eating should once again become the norm. Fret not, however; locally grown produce is often fresher, tastier and healthier than fruits and vegetables from far-flung foreign countries. So relish these healthy summer fruits and veggies all season long. You’ll be healthier and happier for it.