By Kati Mora, MS, RD
Summer is the perfect time to explore fresh produce. Whether you are purchasing it at a local farmers market, your favorite grocery store, or receiving it as part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), you don’t want to miss all of the fabulous flavors, aromas, and textures that summer brings through its in-season produce.
Yet some fruits may garnish more of your attention than others, and it can be easy to forget just how many fruits there are to choose from. Nevertheless, it is important to keep an open mind and an open eye out for a variety of fruits to adorn your table with. Why? Because each type of fruit has its own unique nutritional benefits to offer.
For example, let’s talk about stone fruits – or drupes as they are sometimes called. Not sure what a stone fruit is? The best way to remember or identify a stone fruit is to recall if it has a pit or not. Apricots, prunes, cherries, nectarines and peaches would all belong in this category because each of them have a pit or a stone surrounded by a fleshy outside.
Not only do these fruits offer a wide variety of nutrients, but a recent study also showed that these types of fruits may contain beneficial compounds that can help fight off metabolic syndrome. This is huge because metabolic syndrome consists of a group of conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
According to the researchers from Texas AgriLife Research, a group from Texas A & M University, these phenolic compounds that they have found could, in addition to decreasing your risk of metabolic syndrome, play an important role in weight management. Since metabolic syndrome is a huge player in obesity, this only makes sense. These compounds may also help reduce inflammation and the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).
These compounds are present in varying amounts, so again, it is important to remember that getting a variety of drupes into your diet is key. These fruits may complement each other and work together for maximum health promoting benefits. Plus, combine these with fruits from other categories and who knows what could happen. You may be feeling your best in no time!
Start with these recipes or eat the fresh fruits whole!
Incorporating fruits, stone or otherwise, into your diet doesn’t need to be complicated either. Fresh fruits make excellent snack options and side dishes. Consider grilling some peaches on the grill or skewering a few of your favorite fruits onto a kabob. Or, if time is short, just grab a few of your favorite fruit choices and eat them as is. Most fruits are low in calorie and rich in fiber, so again, if weight management is a concern of yours, you really can’t go wrong.
So grab a fruit and enjoy a taste of better health!
June 25th, 2012