August 1st, 2022
Summer is a great time to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market or your local store. Not only is seasonal produce full of flavor, but it also provides loads of nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.
Here are some fun facts you may not know about your favorite summer fruits and veggies:
- Blueberries: These small berries are big on promoting brain health and may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. They add sweetness and a pop of color to muffins, oatmeal, salads, smoothies and sparkling water. To lengthen their shelf life, refrigerate blueberries after purchase and wash right before eating.
- Tomatoes: Nothing says summer like a plump, ripe tomato. This summer favorite, which comes in a rainbow of colors, is rich in lycopene, a compound known to help promote heart health. For the best flavor, store tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
- Strawberries: A one cup serving of strawberries supplies more vitamin C than an orange. Eating a small bowl of strawberries every day provides a combination of essential nutrients that benefit your entire body, including folate, potassium and fiber. To keep strawberries fresh, store in a covered glass bowl in the fridge.
- Cucumbers: Made up of 95% water, cucumbers are hydrating and only 17 calories per cup. Leave the skin on for a boost of fiber and lutein, a powerful plant nutrient that promotes vision health. For ultimate crispness, wash and dry cucumbers, then store in an open bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
- Summer Squash: Zucchini, or summer squash, is packed with vitamins A and C, plus potassium and fiber. For a delicious summer meal, make a zucchini “boat” by cutting roasted or grilled zucchini in half and scooping out the seeds. Stuff the inside with seasoned vegetables and lean meat.
- Green Beans: Low in calories and good for the heart, green beans are full of soluble fiber. This helps lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Don’t be fooled by the name—green beans also come in yellow and purple!
- Watermelon: Nothing beats the taste of fresh watermelon on a hot summer day. Made up of mostly water, watermelon is one of the most hydrating fruits. To know when a melon is ripe, look at the yellow spot. If it’s a creamy, buttery color, it is ready to eat. Watermelon makes a tasty and healthy summer dessert!
- Bell Peppers: Available in many colors, bell peppers are rich in the antioxidant vitamin C. Red, orange and yellow peppers start as green peppers and change color as they ripen. Each color has its own set of unique antioxidants. Peppers are a great addition to many meals, including sandwiches, stir fries and salads.
- Peaches: Sweet, juicy peaches contain fiber and vitamins A and C. Peaches and nectarines are considered twins. The only difference between them is that a peach has fuzzy skin and a nectarine’s skin is smooth. For a healthy picnic snack, pack some peaches in a cooler bag. They’re easy to eat on the go!
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