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Summer is definitely the time of year when produce is at its peak, and there’s no reason why we can’t get at least 5 servings - and preferably more - of wonderfully fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you!
Here are my favorite summertime fruits and veggies. Enjoy!
Berries. Strawberries ripen first, followed by cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Berries are great sources of fiber, folate and vitamin C. Did you know that 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than one orange? Or that one cup of raspberries has 30% of your daily fiber needs? Berries also are packed with antioxidants, protecting you from cancer and heart disease.
Tomatoes. Early New England colonists believed tomatoes were poisonous, but today they're one of our most popular foods. Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a phytochemical that helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer. They're also a good source of vitamin C, and high in potassium. Add cherry tomatoes to a shish kabob, hollow out a tomato and stuff with tuna salad, or fire up the blender to make gazpacho loaded with tomatoes and other veggies.
Corn. One ear of sweet corn provides 3 grams of fiber and another 3 grams of protein, plus it contains folate, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Cooking actually increases the availability of antioxidants in corn.
Salads. Instead of bagged salads, toss together handfuls of arugula, spinach, romaine and other types of greens with chopped veggies. Add fresh berries, melon cubes, or diced pears for flavor and color. Make a salad a meal by topping it with grilled chicken or fish.
Plums. I adore juicy, ripe plums! Two plums equal one serving of fruit, and it's somehow more satisfying to eat two instead of just one! Plums are one of the rare purple/blue fruits that provide essential antioxidants and phytochemicals. In fact, plums have more antioxidants than other fruit except berries.
Lynn Grieger RD, CDE, cPT is a health, food and fitness coach.
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