Stock The Fridge With Seasonal Cherries, Kiwi and Strawberries
For A Nutritional Boost
If you always have plenty of fresh fruits on hand you can mix them up for a quick fruit salad, or use them as dessert with a dab of lite whipped topping. Some fruits that are abundant in the summer are a stockpile of nutrition and stand alone without a lot of fuss.
The top three are:
1. Cherries – What makes cherries so special is that they contain anthocyanins which are used by the body to produce essential amino acids. Anthodyanins are a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatoy that inhibit the production of COS-2 enzymes in the same way over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol and Ibuprophen do. Cherries have the ability to reduce the symptoms of gout, arthritis and cardiovascular disease, and may help eliminate post-workout stress and muscle pain. Cherries also contain vitamin C and melatonin, the chemical that helps regulate sleep cycles.
The growing season for cherries is relatively short. May to August is the optimal time to purchase fresh, locally grown cherries at farmer’s markets and grocers. Out of season, frozen and dried cherries can be substituted. Once pitted, cherries make a good snack, can be added to plain Greek yogurt, and can be the main ingredient in your favorite fruit smoothie.
Recipe Tip: For a spicy cherry salsa dice ½ pound of fresh cherries (pits removed). Combine with 2 shallots, 1 jalapeno pepper diced, 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro and the juice of 1 lime. Add sea salt to taste and chill until ready to serve.
2. Kiwi – This little green, furry fruit is exceptionally high in vitamin C. Kiwis have more Vitamin C than citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits. They also contain phytonutrients that protect the DNA in the nucleus of the human cell from oxygen-related damage. This vitamin C-rich fruit has been shown to protect the respiratory system against ailments that include wheezing, asthma, chronic cough and runny nose.
Kiwi is also a good source of potassium, may lower the risk for blood clots, and reduce triglycerides in the blood. Once peeled, kiwis can be eaten as a snack, sliced and added to fruit and green salads, and – like cherries –can be added to your favorite smoothie recipe for an extra dose of Vitamin C.
Recipe Tip: For a nutritious salad, slice two kiwis and arrange on top of about 8 cups of raw spinach. Sprinkle with sliced almonds or walnuts, a drizzle of vegetable oil and raspberry vinegar.
3. Strawberries – Strawberries are an amazing fruit that have an unusually high amount of antioxidants. Did you know that strawberries rank fourth in nutritional value and antioxidants out of all fruits? And they taste so good! Research has shown they have the ability to help regulate blood sugar. They contain C-reactive protein which provides levels of inflammatory markers that are beneficial in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Strawberries are a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, and manganese, and contain a variety of anti-inflammatory nutrients including flavanols – also found in dark chocolate – and anthodyanins. They can be used in green and fruit salads, added to yogurts and smoothies, and are the ingredient for numerous summer desserts.
Recipe Tip: For a quick low-fat, on-the-go smoothie, combine a banana with a heaping cup of fresh strawberries, and a cup of almond milk. Blend together in a smoothie maker or blender until smooth.
Fruits, Vegetables and Disease Prevention
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables each day can help keep weight at healthy level and reduce the risk for chronic disease. Fruits and veggies are low-calorie, high nutrient foods that provide vitamins and minerals not found in other foods.
Most fruits are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. My favorite way to serve fruit is to layer them in a long stemmed glass and enjoy them just as they are