Swimming pools and sunshine are just two of the things that summer brings, as fresh fruit starts to appear at farmer’s markets and on seasonal menus across the country. As you enjoy some cool strawberry gelato, relax with warm cherry pie or bite into a juicy watermelon, it’s hard not to think about the health benefits that these fruits have to offer.
Fresh, frozen, dried or in juice, cherries boast some of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits, as well as notable levels of beta carotene and other nutrients. Cherries are said to help ease the pain of arthritis and also aid in lowering body fat and weight levels.1
Peaches are a good source of potassium, iron, flavonoids and natural sugars. Lycopene and lutein (which contribute to the red, orange and yellow colors found in peaches) are phytochemicals that help in the prevention of heart disease and macular degeneration, and are found in high levels in peaches.2
Perhaps most popular in the berry group, strawberries contain anthocyanins that act as an antioxidant, while giving the fruit its bright red color.3 Strawberries’ high vitamin C antioxidant content is said to make them a heart-protective, anticancer and anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one.
These berries possess an exclusive family of antioxidant compounds known as ellagitannins, which are responsible for slowing the growth of, and in some cases the killing of, cancer cells.4 Ellagitannins are also said to reduce the incidence
of birth defects and promote wound healing.
Though technically a vegetable, rhubarb finds itself most often categorized as a fruit and has been used as an herbal remedy since ancient times in traditional Chinese medicine.
But beware, the leaves of rhubarb contain toxins and may be poisonous if eaten!
Arguably the most refreshing (and certainly the most hydrating) fruit on a hot summer day! An excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants, watermelon also helps to reduce inflammation that leads to conditions such as asthma and diabetes.5
Apricots help to increase fiber levels and also contain a variety of nutrients, such as vitamin A, that promote healthy eyesight. Next time you’re told to eat carrots for good vision, turn to apricots instead!
Plums possess a unique ability to help increase iron absorption into the body. The dried version, prunes, are known to aid in digestive health.
Whether you’re picking peaches for fresh sorbetto or want to promote seasonal fruit-inspired products to your customers, remember that the natural health benefits of fresh fruits make the summer that much sweeter.
Cherries: The New Antioxidant “Super Fruit”. (2007). Choose Cherries. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from choosecherries.com/health/main.aspx.
Health Benefits of Peaches. (2006). Every Nutrient. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from everynutrient.com/healthbenefitsofpeaches.html.
Strawberries. (2009). The World’s Healthiest Foods. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=32.
Raspberries. (2009). The World’s Healthiest Foods. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=39.
Watermelon. (2009). The World’s Healthiest Foods. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=31.