Author: Caroline Wang, Shuhua Bloom
Summer is a time for sun and fun! It’s also the time for sweet summer fruits – and all the great health benefits that come with them! Many summer fruits are like high-powered vitamins packed with essential nutrients with the bonus of being better tasting.
Here’s a list of 8 great summer fruits to seek out and enjoy this summer. What makes them so great? Well, for one, they’re all full of great nutrition. But more than that, you’ll enjoy eating them.
To make this list, the fruits didn’t simply have to offer great nutritional value. They had to be easy to prepare, meaning minimal carving, slicing, or chopping. And they had to make a great snack, which means you could pop it in your mouth and go.
Let’s get started, after all, summer doesn’t last forever!
These little blueberries have a very short season for harvesting, it runs only about one month. And you want to get them fresh while you can. For being so small, they deliver big nutrition with vitamins C, K and manganese, a mineral that plays a role in blood sugar management and carb-burning. Blueberries are also packed with antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, which may have a protective effect on the heart, liver, and brain!
A single cantaloupe is a week’s worth of refreshing summer snacking. Plus, a single serving offers a full day’s value of vitamins A and C. Cantaloupe is also a great source of folate, the B vitamin you need to make red blood cells, support the immune system, convert carbs into energy and support cellular renewal through its role in making DNA for new cells. Plus, every bite of cantaloupe includes a full range of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.
Here’s another fruit that is summer exclusive! They make their appearance in the early summer and by autumn they’re mostly gone. Cherries offer great nutrition, especially vitamin C and fiber which supports healthy digestion. They’re also rich in antioxidants and carotenoids, featuring anthocyanins. Research even suggests eating cherries helps protect against gout by breaking down the uric acid. Whether you eat them for taste or health benefits, just make sure to get several handfuls this summer.
Figs make an appearance around mid-summer, so grab them while you can. They supply a full range of nutrients including vitamin A, B vitamins as well as minerals like calcium, iron, zinc potassium and manganese. They’re also considered in some cultures to be an aphrodisiac. Plus, fresh figs are easy to eat. Pluck the stem, rinse well and take a bite.
This tropical fruit can often be gotten year-round, but its season is summer. It’s red or orange color tells you it’s a great source of vitamin A. It’s also great for vitamin C and folate. Papaya contains the potent phytochemical lycopene which may offer protection against cancer. Every bite of papaya also supplies papain, an enzyme which supports protein digestion, making it a great fruit to support digestive health too!
If you ever get the chance, eating a ripe, sun-warmed peach will be an unforgettable experience. And it would be a healthy one too! Peaches are a great source of vitamins A and C, while also providing B vitamins the body needs for energy. They’re also a great source of antioxidants and fiber. Some people even claim putting peach slices on the skin is a great way to treat wrinkles and dark circles.
Here’s another of the incredible tropical fruits. And it’s a lot easier to prep than it might seem. Cut off the top and bottom, then cut down the sides to remove that fibrous exterior. For more slices around the tough inner core and you’ve got a snack for a week. Pineapple supplies an excellent source of vitamin C, B vitamins, and minerals like iron, magnesium and even copper. Plus, a single serving offers a whopping 76% of the daily recommended intake of manganese. Plus, pineapple contains bromelain, another enzyme which aids digestion by helping to digest protein.
Of all the summer fruits, does any say summer more than watermelon? A picnic favorite, it really belongs on the table all summer long. Yes, it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and C along with magnesium and potassium, but its high water content makes it refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
Watermelon also contains lycopene and a triterpenoid compound known as Cucurbitacin E which research shows supports the immune system and may have anti-cancer properties. Maybe grab another slice of the watermelon at the next family picnic, right!?
[Nutrition information supplied by SELFNutritionData.]
Attard E1, Martinoli MG. Cucurbitacin E, An Experimental Lead Triterpenoid with Anticancer, Immunomodulatory and Novel Effects Against Degenerative Diseases. A Mini-Review. Curr Top Med Chem. 2015;15(17):1708-13.