10 Super Fruits to Power Up Your Summer
One of the many great things about summer is the bounty of fresh fruit available, including melons, stone fruits and berries. They can be chopped into fruit salads, tossed into oatmeal, or mixed into salads. And the great news is most are packed with nutrition. We’re talking vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. So the next time your sweet tooth beckons, put down the chocolate chip cookie and reach for one of these super healthy fruits instead. To avoid pesticide residue, buy organic where you can. You’ll enjoy these health benefits:
- Watermelon. This picnic staple is full of vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene. Lycopene is one of the strongest antioxidants out there and has been shown to prevent breast and prostate cancer as well as kidney tumors. Plus, since it’s 92% water, watermelon is an excellent thirst-quencher on steamy summer afternoons.
Ever had a watermelon salad? Light, refreshing and utterly delicious. Try this one from Food & Wine.
- Cherries. Fresh cherries (not those bright pink ones that come on an ice cream sundae) are full of fiber, vitamin C and flavonoids. Flavonoids have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma and stroke.
- Peaches. These sweet, juicy stone fruits are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and A, potassium, fluoride and iron. Vitamin A supports immunity and protects eye health.
- Tomatoes. Yup, they’re a fruit! And they’re full of vitamin C and lycopene. And remember, tomatoes don’t belong in the fridge! Keeping them on the counter means you may need to eat them sooner, but they’ll taste a lot better.
- Berries. The various summer berries have different nutrient profiles, but they’re all extremely good for you. Raspberries contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical that can prevent cancer. Blackberries are packed with antioxidants and fiber. Blueberries contain vitamin K and manganese, and strawberries are loaded with folate and potassium. No matter the berry, you can’t go wrong!
- Pineapple. This sweet tropical fruit is full of vitamin C, manganese and bromelain–an anti-inflammatory that can protect against cancer. If you’ve relied on canned pineapple in the past, why not buy a whole one for a change? Pick one that smells sweet and has a slight amount of give. If you can pull a leaf from the head, that’s another good indication that it’s ready to eat.
- Mangoes. Another yummy tropical fruit, mangoes are the most widely consumed fruit on the planet! With good reason, because they are full of vitamin C, soluble fiber and anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
- Lemons. We all know citrus contains vitamin C, but did you know lemons are also on the CDC’s list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables? That’s because there’s evidence that lemons may lower blood lipids and blood pressure and may even prevent weight gain. Squeezing lemon juice into your water is a simple, easy way to enjoy this fruit.
- Papaya. These fleshy, deeply pink fruits are full of lycopene, vitamins C and A, potassium and folate. Papaya also contains the papain enzyme that can aid in digestion, reduce pain and inflammation, and ease muscle soreness.
Check out this recipe for a coconut papaya smoothie that makes a great breakfast on the go.
- Apples. This old standby shouldn’t be shrugged off–after all, the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” originated with good reason. Apples are full of fiber and the right size to make a perfectly healthy, on-the-go snack. They’re also full of vitamins C and K, potassium, and antioxidants that may help increase bone density. There are many different types of apples on the market today from Honeycrisp to pink ladies, to Fijis. Try them all and see which you like best.
Although apple pie is delicious, it lowers the health factor of the apple considerably. Why not try these baked apples instead?
So, this summer, remember to load up your plates with lots of fresh fruits and have fun with it. Try a new recipe, buy fresh instead of canned or pre-sliced, or put together a new combination of fruits in your morning oatmeal. And remember: You’re never too old to learn how to slice a pineapple!