Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month
June means summer is here and fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance. Make the most of this summer’s produce: it’s delicious, easy to prepare, and so good for you. It doesn’t get much easier than rinsing off some ripe, juicy berries and popping them in your mouth.
Fruits and vegetables provide an incredible array of vitamins, minerals and phyto- nutrients (plant compounds) that are beneficial in many ways.
In addition to supplying traditional vitamins or minerals, fruits and vegetables contain compounds called phytochemicals or phyto-nutrients. “Phyto” means “plant” and these plant compounds include anthocyanin’s in blueberries, resveratrol in grapes, lutein in corn, lycopene in watermelon and tomatoes, or beta-carotene in carrots. Phyto- nutrients are often the pigments that provide the color to the skin and flesh of the fruit or vegetable. These colorful compounds are not only pretty to look at; they are part of the plant’s defense mechanism against disease and pests. In the same way that the pigments provide protection for the plant, they also help you fight against disease by preventing cell damage from free-radicals and oxidation.
Tips for Eating Fruits and Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables should make up about half the space on your plate for most meals. In the summertime, when produce is at its peak of freshness, this is so easy to do. In honor of National Papaya Month, we included a few great recipes for natural pick-me-up.