Juicy, sweet and nutrient-packed, these five super fruits of summer
are guaranteed to keep you refreshed and satisfied.
Summer is the perfect time to get the most craveable fruits, whether it’s from the grocery store or farmers market. Fresh fruit is a perfect guilt-free option to keep you swimsuit-ready all summer long. What’s more, these five fruits have big nutrition and health payoffs. Here’s a look at summer’s best picks:
At only 80 calories per cup, the polyphenols present in blueberries can make an impact on your health! It’s true that all berries are nutritious, but research shows blueberries may help keep your brain sharp as you age. Several animal studies, and preliminary human clinical trials, suggest that blueberries can enhance memory and may keep cognitive diseases (ie dementia) at bay. Among common fruits, blueberries have some of the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants.
How to Enjoy
Throw some blueberries in your yogurt, cereal, or even in your salad. The possibilities are endless. A blueberry walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette is a great touch to any barbecue. Or just enjoy them out of hand.
Did you know that 1 cup of strawberries can provide more vitamin C than and orange and only at 45 calories? They do! What’s more, they’re packed with antioxidants as well as fiber. Strawberries may also help with heart health. Several studies have reported that strawberry consumption can help lower total and harmful LDL cholesterol–as well as small, dense LDL particles, which are considered the most detrimental for heart health. That’s a big reason to keep strawberries as part of your regular diet, keep that heart healthy!
How to Enjoy
Being so versatile, this berry can make a delicious snack or be part of any meal. They are great for breakfast with almost anything yogurt oatmeal or added to cereal. They also add a sweet touch to pancakes or waffles. Toss them into a salad to make a perfect summer time salad! For dessert, try our favorite Strawberry Cheesecake Bites!
Blackberries might not be your first choice at the grocery store but take a second look! Compared to other common berries, blackberries have the most fiber. One cup will provide you with 7 grams of fiber and only 62 calories. These berries may help to lower triglycerides as well as harmful LDL cholesterol. The antioxidants and flavonoids in blackberries may also help to reduce oxidative stress that could lead to chronic diseases. Add blackberries to your grocery list and get creative!
How to Enjoy
For breakfast, try adding some blackberries to a smoothie to take on the go or enjoy them as a simple snack. In this hot weather anything cold sounds great, have you ever thought of making sorbets? Blackberry sorbet is the perfect option for dessert on a hot summer day for you and your kids. Blackberries are also a great addition to some sangria (for adults only) on those perfect days off!
Mango is one of my favorite tropical fruits. This can be a guilty indulgence without the guilt! Mango is fat free, sodium free and also cholesterol free. It is in season almost all year round and there are so many varieties to choose from! Mangoes are being recognized as having cancer-fighting properties. Researchers at Texas A&M are currently studying how polyphenos in mango may act to inhibit breast cancer cell growth, proliferation and cell death. For only 100 calories per cup, be sure to take advantage of the 20-some vitamins and minerals it provides.
How to Enjoy
Mango can be eaten in many ways. Eat it by itself as a delicious snack or add some yogurt to make more like a dessert! Mango can be incorporated into any meal to add some flavor. Make our fish tacos with mango salsa (YUM!).
Do you prefer sweet or tart cherries? No matter. This little fruit provides a big nutritional punch. The anthocyanins in cherries may contribute to more than just color; research suggests that they may help control blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Cherries may also help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as certain types of cancer. A cup of tart cherries will only add 50 calories to your day and sweet cherries will contribute 85 calories with about 3 grams of fiber.
How to Enjoy
Aside from eating cherries with your breakfast try them as a replacement for candy. On those days when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, try freezing some cherries, either sweet or tart, and enjoy them as a candy! Another fun idea for summer is to freeze them in ice cubes to add to your favorite drink or add plain cherries into your summer cocktails!
This post is written by Celeste Bernal, a dietetics student at the University of Houston and a nutrition intern working with Appetite for Health.
Lachin, T. “Effect of Antioxidant Extract from Cherries on Diabetes.” Recent Patents on Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Drug Discovery 8.1 (2014): 67-74. PubMed. Web.
Basu, Arpita, Michael Rhone, and Timothy J. Lyons. “Berries: Emerging Impact on Cardiovascular Health.” Nutrition Reviews 68.3 (2010): 168-77. Web
Schattenberg, Paul. “Research Studies Show Mango May Help Prevent Breast Cancer.” Agrilife Today. Texas A&M, n.d. Web. <http://today.agrilife.org/2014/05/21/mango-help-prevent-breast-cancer/>.
Cherniack, Paul E. “A Berry Thought-provoking Idea: The Potential Role of Plant Polyphenols in the Treatment of Age-related Cognitive Disorders.” British Journal of Nutrition 108 (2012): 794-800. Web.
“Mango Varieties and Availability.” Mango. National Mango Board, n.d. Web. <http://www.mango.org/varieties-and-availability>.