Sip the Health Benefits of Summer’s Bounty

smoothie

Summertime is smoothie time at my house. After work or working out, you’ll find me in the kitchen gathering my favorite fruits, yogurt, and milk for a sweet, frosty treat. Blueberries and bananas today, oranges, strawberries, and mango, tomorrow. It’s all good. I equate it to liquid ice cream without all the fat.

When I hit blend, it’s also nice to know that I’m getting more than just an energy-boosting snack. Vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber also come along for the ride. And, as nutritionists say, eating a variety of fruit benefits your overall health, and ensures that you get a little of all the healthy stuff.

For example, research suggests that antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids may play a role in the prevention of cancer.

That said, if you are taking any type of medication, be sure to consult with your doctor to learn what fruits are safe for you to consume.

** We’ve compiled a list of summer fruits, with some of the top vitamins and minerals found in each. To explain why they’re good for you, we’ve also included a health benefit or two in parentheses.

Have a great summer, and try not to burn out your blender!

Star fruit (carambola): Source of the antioxidant, vitamin C (reduces free radicals in the body, immunity), dietary fiber, potassium (electrolyte), and phosphorus (bone health). Its flavor is something between pineapple and lemon.

strawberries

Ugly fruit: Source of vitamin C, dietary fiber (GI health), and folic acid (brain health). Its flavor is something between grapefruit and tangerine, leaning more on the sweeter side.

Kiwi fruit (green): Source of vitamin C, A (eye health) and E (skin health, hormones), folate (brain health), potassium, phosphorus, calcium (bone health), copper (bone health), and dietary fiber.

Grapes: Source of resveratrol (heart health), flavonoids (anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins), vitamins A, C, and B6 (metabolism), potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.

Strawberries: Source of vitamin C, manganese (metabolism), potassium, calcium, magnesium (bone and heart health), phosphorus, dietary fiber, folate (brain health), flavonoids (anthocyanins), and ellagic acid (antioxidant).

Guava (apple guava): Source of flavonoids (anthocyanins), vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoids (may prevent macular eye disease), potassium, phosphorus, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber (seeds).

dragon fruit

Dragon fruit (prickly pear, pitahaya fruit): Source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and dietary fiber. May control blood glucose levels (diabetes). It has a mildly sweet flavor, similar to melon.

Tomatoes: Source of vitamin A, C, E, K (bone health, blood clotting), potassium, phosphorus, carotenoids (including lycopene), and folate.

Oranges: Source of vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fiber (pith), phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, iron (circulatory system), and flavonoids (anthocyanins).

Watermelon: Source of vitamin C, A, and B6, calcium, iron, carotenoids (including lycopene), potassium, and protein and dietary fiber (seeds).

Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries (mixture): Source of vitamin C, E, A, and K, ellagic acid, manganese, resveratrol, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, folate, dietary fiber, and flavonoids (anthocyanins).

Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 2 bananas, frozen
  • 3/4 cup milk or soy milk
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 5-7 ice cubes

Combine fruit, milk, yogurt and sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes, and blend again. Serves 2-4.

Peaches and nectarines: Source of vitamin A, K, and E, flavonoids (anthocyanins), potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Mango: Source of vitamin A, E, and C, dietary fiber, calcium, selenium (thyroid health), potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper.

Pineapple: Source of manganese, vitamin B1 (metabolism), vitamin C, calcium, folate, and bromelain (speeds healing).

Bananas: Source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, iron, folate, and dietary fiber.

Cherries: Source of vitamin C, vitamin A, flavonoids (anthocyanins), phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, iron, and calcium.

** Data sources: USDA National Nutrient Database, and The George Mateljan Foundation. List does not contain all possible vitamins, minerals, and health benefits for each fruit.