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.
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It’s true, the fruits and vegetables most Americans eat today are less nutritious than the ones our grandparents ate. A landmark 2004 study at the University of Texas established that in a fifty year time span, six out of thirteen nutrients in a general selection of produce had measurable declines of important nutrients. The losses ranged from 6 to 38 percent, and included protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. An illustration of this loss is that for every orange a person ate fifty years ago, you need eight to get the same nutritional value.
The environmental factor responsible for this is soil depletion. When farmers began to utilize enhanced crop production techniques after World War II they got greater yields, faster growing times, and pest resistance. The tradeoff was that the soil was quickly stripped of nutrients and not allowed a rest period to regain them.
Because of this, each successive generation of fruits and vegetables has been less nutritious than the last. This should not give you an excuse not to eat your spinach, though, because today’s fruits and vegetables are still very nutritious, and much healthier than many other foods.
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You know a recipe is going to be good when it starts off with a 21st birthday story. Please, bear with me.
On my 21st birthday back in the summer of 2007, I gathered up two of my best friends and my dad and we went to On the Border Mexican Cantina (classy, I know). In a surprisingly un-awkward act of kindness, my father offered to buy me my first official alcoholic beverage of my young adult life. And what did I choose? A sangria swirl.
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Written by Nicole German, RD for Diet-Blog.com
When you think about heart healthy foods, what comes to mind? Nuts, salmon, olive oil, and whole grains are the well-known foods for heart health. But, what about those lesser known foods that keep the heart pumping strong?
Dried Fruits: Some dried fruits like prunes contain a cocktail of phenol antioxidants that work together to prevent cell damage. An added bonus is that dried fruits contain good sources of fiber which can help to lower cholesterol levels and protect the heart.
Blueberries: We know blueberries as the anti-aging fruit—the fruit that will help keep the mind strong. Yet, blueberries protect the entire body. Studies show that eating at least one cup per day can improve cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides. Most interestingly, blueberries can actually improve the quality of the blood due to the combination of antioxidants they contain.
Grapes: Not a red wine drinker? Don’t worry; you can still get health benefits from eating the whole fruit. Grapes have a dual function: they are anti-inflammatory and have high antioxidant power. Grapes are most notable for their ability to lower blood pressure as they may help to dilate blood vessel walls and prevent cell build-up within the walls.
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Courtney’s come up with a real fruity idea this week, one you’ll want to sink your teeth right into. Eat fruit with each meal!
This really isn’t that hard. The difficulty comes in resetting your habits. So when you hit the grocery store this week, spend a little more time in the produce section. Apples, bananas, and oranges can usually be bought in bulk bags at an affordable price. Also try to take advantage of some of the fresh in-season fruits for summer. Grapes, watermelon, berries are just a few.
And a little known fact… avocado is a fruit… so maybe add a dollop of Wholly Guacamole here and there!
One participant this week will be rewarded with some Wholly Guacamole, our sponsor, and a DIR T-Shirt.
Watch the video and post your comment to tell us how you’re enjoying your fruit.
You’re invited to attend a live Yackit! video chat event with Courtney!
Click here to watch the first Yackit! video, and get all the details for the next, scheduled for September 6!