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Published on July 01, 2014

Sensational Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

July 1, 2014

Seasonal Fruit Salad with Honey-Mint Lime DressingIt is finally starting to warm up and the official start of summer is just around the corner! Thinking about ways to boost your intake of fruits and vegetables this summer but don’t know where to start? Try seasonal fruits and vegetables! Eating produce that is in season means the fruits and veggies will be at their peak for flavor, taste, and nutritive value. Choosing more of these foods will keep you energized and feeling great all summer long.

What fruits and vegetables are in season for the summer? Great question! The following are all examples of fruits and veggies that will taste and look extra delicious during the summer months, and provide fantastic nutrition:

Fruits – avocados, kiwis, cranberries, limes, blueberries, lemons, mangos, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, pears, grapes, nectarines, pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, tomatoes, watermelon;

Vegetables - summer squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, green (French) beans, bell peppers, kale, and zucchini.

Fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, which are important for a variety of reasons:

Vitamins

Nutrient
Role
Seasonal Sources
A immunity, vision, healthy skin and hair, bone and tooth development mangos, grapefruit, cantaloupe, tomatoes, watermelon, summer squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale
C

antioxidant properties, protects tissues from damage from free radicals (by-products of metabolism), antiviral agent

limes, lemons, mangos, oranges, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, kale
E

antioxidant, formation of red blood cells, helps in use of vitamin K, skin healing properties

avocados, cranberries, blueberries, pomegranates
K blood clotting, regulation of blood calcium avocados, cranberries, blueberries, mangos, pears, grapes, pomegranates, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, kale
Thiamine conversion of carbohydrates into energy, heart, muscle, and nervous system functioning avocados, mangos, grapefruit, oranges, grapes, pomegranates, pineapple, watermelon, green (French) beans
Riboflavin

body growth, reproduction, red cell production, helps release energy from carbohydrates

avocados, grapes, pomegranates, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green (French) beans
Niacin digestive system, skin, and nerve functioning, conversion of food to energy avocados, mangos, peaches, corn
Pantothenic Acid

metabolism of food, formation of hormones and good cholesterol

avocados, grapefruit, pomegranates, raspberries, watermelon, summer squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, green (French) beans
B6

creation of antibodies for immunity, maintenance of cell function, red blood cell formation, needed for reactions of proteins to occur

avocados, grapefruit, pomegranates, raspberries, watermelon, summer squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, green (French) beans
Folate red blood cell production, creation and formation of DNA, cell growth, brain function avocados, grapes, pomegranates, watermelon, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, bell peppers, kale

Minerals

Nutrient
Role
Seasonal Sources
Calcium

muscle contraction, nerve transmission, tooth and bone health

grapefruit, oranges, pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, green (French) beans, kale

Copper iron absorption, storage, and metabolism, formation of red blood cells, helps supply oxygen to the body kiwis, pomegranates, kale
Iron

needed for hemoglobin and myoglobin formation (for oxygen transportation), blood production, conversion of blood sugar to energy, production of enzymes

avocados, lemons, grapes, pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, Brussels sprouts, green (French) beans, kale
Magnesium needed for bones and protein, cell production, activating B vitamins, relaxing nerves and muscles, blood clotting, energy production avocados, pomegranates, raspberries, watermelon, green (French) beans
Phosphorus bone, teeth, and nerve cell formation

avocados, kiwis, pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, green (French) beans

Potassium body growth and maintenance, water balance between cells and body fluids

avocados, kiwis, grapefruit, pomegranates, watermelon, green (French) beans

The best way to ensure you are reaping the most nutritional benefits from your foods is to eat a variety, and include lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Consuming a variety of foods is the best way to provide all the nutrients we need. You can increase the variety in your diet by adding extra fruits and veggies to as many of your favorite recipes as you can and, of course, choose seasonal items!

 

One way to find seasonal produce is to visit a farmer’s market in your area. You will find tons of new fruits and veggies to try, and they are less expensive than at traditional grocery stores. Plus, they will have been picked at their peak of freshness and generally experience a shorter time in transit. This means they will be super fresh and even better for you!

Here is a simple recipe using seasonal fruits. You can even swap or add in other fruits to make it your own:

Seasonal Fruit Salad with Honey-Mint Lime Dressing

This salad is tossed in a light sauce of freshly squeezed lime juice, honey, mint, and a touch of brown sugar - just enough to bring out the natural sugars in the fruit without being overwhelming, yet allowing the mint to complement each fruit element. The key is to use fresh ripe fruit.

Honey-Mint Lime Dressing Ingredients

  • Juice of a small lime, approx. 3 Tbl.
  • 3 Tbl. Honey
  • 3 Tbl. Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbl. of finely chopped fresh mint

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk everything together until well incorporated. Place in the refrigerator until ready to toss with fruit.

 

Fruit Salad Ingredients

You will want to have a total of 8-10 cups of various seasonal fresh, cut, fruit, such as:

  • Strawberries, cut in half or quartered
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches, sliced
  • Kiwis, sliced and quartered
  • Any other seasonal fruit such as grapes, oranges, bananas, raspberries

Directions

In a large bowl, gently mix all the cut fruit and Honey-Mint Lime dressing together. Garnish with additional mint sprigs. Enjoy!

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com

http://localharvest.org

http://eatright.org

http://www.health-alternatives.com/minerals-nutrition-chart.html

http://savorysweetlife.com/2009/08/seasonal-delight-fruit-salad-recipe-with-a-honey-mint-lime-dressing/

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