Summer is the ideal time to enjoy the vibrant colors and the delicious harvest of seasonal fruits and vegetables! In this article I have posted a few “specialties” that we can find along with a few special comments. I often like to refer to “eating the rainbow” when I talk about these amazing foods. Eating a broad variety of fruits and vegetables is linked to high levels and intake of phytonutrients and antioxidants
Yes, blueberries are at the very top of my list! Not only are they delicious, they also probably the most broadly nutritious of all berries. As an example, one cup provides 16% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C, vitamin K: 24% of the DV and 22% of the DV of Manganese. All this with only 84 calories per cup! Blueberries are a wonderful source of antioxidants with an amazing concentration of flavenoids. As we grow older DNA damage is a part of the aging process. Blueberries, being high in antioxidants, help to neutralize some of the free radicals that can cause this damage. It is strongly believed that blueberries may help lower blood pressure and may help prevent heart disease. Before leaving blueberries I must mention that research shows that the anthocyanins in blueberries may have very beneficial effects in glucose metabolism and on insulin sensitivity. On top of all this nutritional value, you can grow a couple of blueberry plants on the edges of your yard as an attractive ornamental plant!
FOUR MORE DELICIOUS FRUITS
There are so many fruits available in the summer, but here are four that I am especially fond of. Cherries, peaces, raspberries and watermelons. My boyhood friend, Doug, had a cherry tree in his backyard. Dark, luscious fruit that we looked forward to each year! Cherries are a wonderful source of potassium which is said to help in lowering blood pressure. On our boyhood farm we had a peach tree. A great source of vitamin C, the peach also gives us the antioxidants beta carotene and lutein. In the third grade I picked raspberries on a commercial farm and ate them all day long! Little did I realize that raspberries are rich in brain-boosting anthocyanins. One cup of these delicious red berries contains 8 grams of fiber, which contributes to good digestion, and may lower cholesterol. One of my favorite summer fruits is the watermelon! On my Father’s farm he always planted a nice patch of the type that were long and about twenty inches around. Striped green and pale yellow they were filled with black seeds. So different from the little round melons we get in our grocery now! Visiting my Father’s uncle each summer in Minnesota he always had large, very round, black skinned melons in his well-house water cooler. Watermelons are one of the few sources of lycopene as well as having good amounts of vitamins A, B, and C. At only about 46 calories per cup this melon is a reasonable source of potassium and it is a wonderful way to help stay hydrated!
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE VEGGIES
Carrots are my first vegetable selection. I almost put it by itself. The carrot is often claimed to be the perfect health food! This is because the carrot has such a broad base of nutrients! Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. They are a tasty, weight-loss friendly food that most of us recognize as being orange in color. Did you know they also come in yellow, white, red and purple? The orange carrots most of us recognize get their coloring from beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body can convert to vitamin A. Carrots will vary in nutritional value depending upon where they were grown, fertilizers used, and water mineral content. Carrots also often provide a good source of lycopene, lutein and potassium and vitamin B6. Can be cooked but are best eaten raw. Can be easily grown in a small plot for your home use. Beets rank near the top for me. They are highly nutritious and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. They are low in calories, but contain a bit of almost every vitamin and mineral your body needs. My Grandmother was a wonderful gardener and said that the betaine in beets was good for my heart. She taught me to pick a medium size beet and peel it to eat raw. They were so sweet and tasty from her garden!. Two vegetables I am partial to are Bell Peppers and tomatoes. The red tomatoes provide us with the antioxidant lycopene. Did you know that a cup of chopped red bell peppers provides more than twice as much vitamin C as a medium size orange? It also gives us plenty of beta carotene, fiber and folate. Tomatoes and peppers are easy to grow in a small patch for your own meals. The final vegetable I will mention is the zucchini. It is high ion potassium and manganese. The zucchini supplies vitamin C and energy boosting B vitamins. These vegetables are all easy to use in meals and are best used as raw as possible.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT HOW WE TALK
You might have noticed that I use words like “may” when talking about the value of fruits and vegetables to our health. I have been a farmer, product manufacturer, owner of a pharmaceutical laboratory and distributor of Wellness products. I have had a long and positive relationship with people from the Food and Drug Administration. I learned years ago that basically we cannot make any type of curative claim for fruits and vegetables. Pharmaceutical drugs are the only products for which we can make most disease claims in the US. I continue today to do affiliate and other types of marketing of Wellness products. I am therefore very careful not to make any types of disease claims for natural foods and fruits and vegetables. I do encourage each of you to do your own research and to eat as good a diet of a variety of foods as possible.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS
By far the majority of people in the United States do not eat an adequate supply of fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. This is according to the United States Department of Agriculture. There are several reasons for this. One reason is that the grocery store prices for fresh foods keeps creeping higher and higher. Over the past couple of years supply chain issues have entered into this deficit. On top of that, the actual nutritional value of our foods has decreased over the past fifty years in the US. In response to these factors several companies have begun producing what are called Superfood Supplements. Some of them are of very good quality and are reasonably priced. Yes, I myself market a line of these Superfoods. You can check mine out at this link. You should always do your own research because some of these products are of a lesser quality and are often far too expensive.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and that I have been able to provide you some sound information. I may earn a commission off of products purchased on this site.
Please leave me any comments or questions.