Summer is the perfect time to add some new foods to your diet, especially when it comes to fruit. Summer fruits offer a variety of flavor and nutrition that will entice you to add them to your menu. Here are some popular fruits that will be easy to find and incorporate into your diet.
Cantaloupes reach their peak season in June, July and August. These melons are packed with vitamins and nutrients that benefit several systems in the body. Cantaloupes are very high in vitamin A and beta carotene, both of which help protect your vision and may in fact help to lower the risk of cataracts. In addition to being necessary for good vision, vitamin A is essential for good lung health. The melons are rich in vitamin C, which helps improve the function of the immune system. Vitamin C may also help prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer. Cantaloupes contain fiber and B complex vitamins. These allow the digestive system to process the melon slowly, therefore keeping blood glucose levels stabilized. When choosing a cantaloupe, opt for one that is heavy but not soft. It should smell sweet, but not overly so. If it smells too strongly, it is very ripe. While ripe fruit contains a higher amount of antioxidants, it may spoil before you get a chance to eat it.
It may seem like a child’s treat, so it can be a little hard to believe that watermelon has great nutritional benefits. The watery flesh is rich in antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals. The antioxidants help to lower the risks of heart attack, stroke and cancer. The special combination of antioxidants in watermelon also give it anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce spasms in airways in asthmatics. Those same properties help to relieve the inflammation in arthritics. The color of the flesh of watermelon is from the lycopene, which is a carotenoid that has been found to help prevent a number of cancers. When choosing a watermelon, choose one that is symmetrical in shape. One side should be slightly yellow or creamy where it rested on the ground. The melon should be heavy for its size and smooth. Watermelons come in various sizes and colors, and they are available with or without seeds.
Plums are generally found in the markets in May through October. They are high in antioxidants and are particularly helpful in protecting against damage to necessary fat cells in the brain. They hold many vitamins that are essential to having good vision. Plums are thought to help increase iron absorption due to their high content of vitamin C. The vitamin C also helps to keep the immune system running efficiently. Plums are high in dietary fiber. They will aid the digestive system, and they will keep you feeling full longer. They are a great snack that won’t send your blood sugar levels soaring. When choosing plums, look for those that yield slightly to a little pressure. If they are very hard, you can set them in a bag on the windowsill to ripen for a few days.