by Lauren Davies April 12, 2024 3 min read

As the temperatures rise and the days grow longer, nature provides a vibrant array of fresh fruits and vegetables, brimming with flavor and nutritional goodness. Spring and Summer mark the arrival of an abundance of produce, offering the perfect opportunity to revitalize our nutrition plan and maximize our intake of essential nutrients.

Whether it's shopping at a local farmers market for fresh seasonal produce, or knowing what's in season at the grocery store; let's explore some of the most nutritious fresh produce the warmer seasons have to offer and the array of associated health benefits.

Seasonal Delights of Spring and Summer

  1. Berries: Juicy, sweet, and bursting with antioxidants, berries are a quintessential addition to any Spring or Summer diet. Whether it's strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries, these colorful gems are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and various phytochemicals. Their antioxidant properties help counter oxidative stress and support healthy levels of inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases. Add to your daily smoothie or add nutrients to your favorite breakfast bowl.

  2. Dark Leafy Greens: Fresh greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are at their peak during the warmer months. Packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium, these leafy vegetables offer a nutritional powerhouse that supports bone health, immunity, may help slow cognitive decline and enhance overall vitality. Incorporating them into salads, smoothies, greens juice or stir-fries is an excellent way to boost your daily nutrient intake and optimize the recommendation to "eat more greens".

  3. Tomatoes: Nothing quite compares to the taste of a ripe, sun-kissed tomato in the summertime. Tomatoes are not only delicious but also a rich source of lycopene, a potent antioxidant linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Additionally, they provide vitamins A and C, potassium, and folate, promoting heart health and supporting immune function. Enjoy the wide variety on offer and embrace the versatility in salads, a spicy gazpacho or salsa, homemade tomato ketchup - the options are endless.

  4. Stone Fruits: Peaches, plums, cherries, and apricots are the jewels of summer orchards. These succulent fruits are not only refreshing but also brim with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They offer a sweet way to consume essential nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene, supporting skin health, digestion, and hydration. Add natural sweetness and flavor to salads, smoothies or overnight oats, or serve with a dollop of coconut cream as a refreshing summer dessert.

  5. Zucchini and Squash: Versatile and low in calories, zucchini and summer squash are excellent additions to summer meals. Rich in phytochemicals, vitamins A and C, as well as minerals potassium and magnesium, these vegetables promote healthy vision, immunity, and nerve function. Their mild flavor makes them perfect for grilling, sautéing, incorporating into salads and have become a popular vegetable "noodle" replacement for your bolognese.

  6. Bell Peppers: Vibrant and crunchy, bell peppers add both color and nutritional density to summertime dishes. Whether red, yellow, orange, or green, peppers are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants like beta-carotene and quercetin. Antioxidants and other beneficial compounds have been associated with reduced risk of chronic health conditions due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Add to salads, bake them stuffed with additional veggies as a side dish at a BBQ, or a create a creamy roasted pepper dip - perfect to accompany cucumber, carrot and celery sticks on a healthy snack platter.

  7. Cucumbers: With 95% water content, cucumbers are ranked 2nd in the top 15 most hydrating foods list. The crisp texture and variety on offer, make them a refreshing addition to an array of summer meals and healthy snacks. They are low in calories but rich in vitamins K and C, as well as silica, a compound that promotes healthy skin and connective tissues. A great addition to any salads, raw slaw, pickles or enjoy them satiating, hydrating snack dipped into hummus.

Spring and Summer offer a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that not only spark your taste buds but also nourish the body from within. By incorporating these nutrient-rich whole foods into your diet, you can maximize your daily nutrient intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting overall health and well-being.

While consuming organic fresh produce is recommended due to the harmful pesticides and chemicals used in conventional farming methods, availability and budget may create limitations. Take a listen to this podcast to learn about the Clean 15 and dirty dozen that lists the top fruit and vegetables that are ok to eat if you can't find them organic and which are best to avoid.

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