Raise your hand if you’ve been eating more fruit these past couple of months. I bet everyone reading this post has their hand raised (ok, maybe you aren’t really raising your hand, but you would if this was class, right?!). My point is that the summers months are the perfect time to take advantage of all the amazing fruits that the farmer’s markets and local grocery stores have to offer. Not only are they fresh and delicious, but most of them are very cheap too. Last week during my training I had the chance to taste a casaba melon for the first time. Have you tried one? They sort of taste like a cross between a honeydew and a cucumber. It was interesting. Here are some other great summer fruits:
GRAPES: Make sure to buy organic if they are imported from outside of the USA. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on organic, just be sure to rinse them really well. Grapes are a fantastic fruit because of the proanthocyanidins they contain, which are believed to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation (LDL oxidation causes inflammation and heart disease). Grapes also contain resveratrol, which may have anti-aging benefits, and which also benefit the heart.
Tip: It’s easy to eat grapes, and lot of them, really fast. Help yourself slow down by freezing them! They are really refreshing when they are frozen, and it’s much more difficult to eat too many, too fast (this is especially important for diabetics, as too many grapes can really spike your blood sugar).
CHERRIES: Make sure to buy organic cherries, or just wash conventional cherries really well (they are on the dirty list). Recent research has shown that cherries may have a beneficial impact on biomarkers of metabolic syndrome. In one study rats were put on a high fat diet, in combination with whole cherry powder, and they had decreased abdominal weight and decreased markers of inflammation.
PEACHES: Make sure to buy organic peaches, or just wash conventional peaches really well (they are also on the dirty list). While you may not think that peaches are very high in antioxidants, the contrary is true. Researchers have recently begun doing more research on peaches and are finding that their flesh and skin are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants! One downfall about peaches is that they are sort of low in fiber. Add them to some yogurt and homemade granola for some additional fiber and amazing taste.
Tip: Similar to grapes, peaches taste really great when frozen. I love to freeze slices of peaches and then add them to smoothies, or even make them into peach ice cream.
Each of the above fruits can be purchased in the dried form, which is fine, but watch out for dried products with added sugars. A typical serving of fruit will contain between 10-15 grams of CHO (fructose; SUGAR), so if you purchase dried fruit with more sugar than this, chances are it was added (you can also look at the ingredient list to find this out). Frozen varieties of fruits also tend to have added sugar, so just keep your eyes peeled.