Celebrate the Season
There are multiple reasons why I love this time of year. For starters, I don’t have to live in my down-coat, I don’t have a perpetually runny nose, and I don’t have to sprint from car to building and back to car without losing feeling in my fingers and toes (you’d think I live in Antarctica; nope, just Michigan). I love open windows, sundresses, grilling and flip-flops. But what I love, arguably most of all, is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, juicy & ripe and pouring out of the markets at ridiculously cheap prices.
Thanks to modern technology, you can buy strawberries year-round pretty much anywhere. But, when its 10 degrees outside and you live in Michigan, those strawberries are most assuredly not local and have probably lost a lot of flavor and nutrients in transit. If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate that supports year-round production, then you know the joys of a solid 12 months of eating locally sourced produce. Here in our temperate climate, though, we’re much more limited. But, it’s amazing when those fruits and vegetables are in season! Eating local produce not only supports your local farmers and reduces your carbon footprint, it also guarantee’s top-notch freshness and nutrient density!
Most simply defined “nutrient density” means the number of nutrients (think vitamins & minerals) we get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. We always want to strive for more nutrients for less calories.
When we buy produce at the grocery store that has spent more days on a truck in transit than on the vine there is large nutrient loss, which means less vitamins, less minerals, less phytochemicals – i.e.: less nutrient dense!
Summer’s bounty is full of nutritional powerhouses: that means that all those local foods not only taste amazing but they are chock full of nutritional goodness that your body will love. Here’s a little peek into just what kind of nutrients those foods are giving you!
- Raspberries: the diverse number of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients all present in raspberries are seen in few other fruits.
- Watermelon: besides high taste for low calories, watermelon is an excellent source of both vitamin C and A, both of which support vision. Watermelon is also a rich source of B vitamins, which can supply the body with natural energy
- Grapes: High in manganese, a free-radical scavenger and bone-healthy Vitamin K. They are also considered to be good sources of vitamin B6 and potassium, which are heart-healthy.
- Leafy Greens: a fantastic source of iron, folate, vitamin K and calcium – greens are a great way to get all your vitamins & minerals!
- Corn: a vegetable with well documented digestive benefits; corn provides 15% of the suggested daily value of fiber (both soluble and insoluble!)
- Tomato: an outstanding source of lycopene – a carotenoid pigment with significant antioxidant properties and research linking it’s presence to the increase in the bodies ability to protect itself from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
- Cucumber: contain anti-inflammatory properties and conventional antioxidant nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin c & manganese.
- Beets: a cardiovascular health friendly food, the antioxidants present in beets are found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol in the body and have anti-aging effects.
Curious about all the different nutrients present in the produce you grab? Check out www.whfoods.com - an amazing resource for nutrition benefits, recipes, and articles and more for every food you could think of. and then some!