Although it’s important to eat fruit all throughout the year, summer is one of the best times to enjoy flavorful, juicy fruits at their freshest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summertime favorites like watermelon, red grapes, raspberries and figs are packed with valuable nutrients that will keep you youthful and energized. No matter where you live in the country, there’s always something ripe when the weather warms up. Here are some fruits that are as good for your overall health as they are for your taste buds:
Soft and sweet, papaya is a delicious fruit that offers significant amounts of folic acid, fiber, carotenes and vitamins C and E. The Philippines’ Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) has gathered extensive information on papaya, since it’s grown in several areas of the country. The Institute notes that papaya’s antioxidants aid the cardiovascular system and help protect against diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. Whether you put some in salad, soup or salsa, it adds a sweet note to any meal – and your body. For more papaya facts from the FNRI, visit www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. Wondering if papaya is grown closer to home? Look no farther than Hawaii and Florida.
2. Cherries: In 2004, Agricultural Research magazine published a study that claimed fresh cherries offered relief to arthritis sufferers. And while the research offered some new findings, good press is nothing new for cherries. The United States Department of Agriculture (www.usda.gov) has often acknowledged the anti-inflammatory effects of Bing Cherries, and the fruit’s popularity is on the rise. Not only do cherries offer 19 times more beta-carotene than blueberries and strawberries, but they also boast plenty of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron and more. Researchers at the University of Michigan concluded that cherries also play a major role in lowering total weight and body fat. Learn more about this fruit’s tasty health benefits at www.choosecherries.com.
3. Kiwi: Kiwi may be considered a more exotic fruit, but you can actually find it grown right here in the United States, mostly in California. It’s a good thing there are kiwis close to home; they contain more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than bananas and lots of other nutrients to boost your health. The National Gardening Association (www.garden.org) points out that kiwis are versatile as well, so you can easily incorporate them into your daily meals or even eat them plain. You’ll get a good dose of vitamin E, fiber and copper, not to mention a delicious amount of tangy juice with every bite.
Make a fruit salad for your next picnic, or learn how to harvest your own backyard favorites during summer months. With so many regional varieties, there’s a fruit to be discovered in every corner of the U.S. Be sure to check out farms and markets in your neighborhood where you can taste the local flavors and support area farmers. Mix it up and see what fruits tickle your taste buds every week – you’ll finish off the summer healthier than ever before.