Nutrition Friday – Incorporating Summer Produce to Help Boost Your Diet

With summer just around the corner, it is the perfect time to appreciate the beautiful fruits and vegetables of the summer season. Not only is the variety a great addition to any summer celebration, but having a well-rounded mixture of vegetables and fruits in your diet can benefit your health. Blueberries, avocados, cherries, and asparagus are a list of some of the most common summer grocery store pick-ups, but there are a lot more options to choose from. Additionally, when maintaining a healthy diet, variety is critical, and cooking new vegetables and incorporating new fruits can help you boost your health. For a complete list of what produce is in season, you can check out the Southland Farmers Association for a yearlong list, and you can start incorporating these foods into your diet the next time you go to the grocery store.

Why is having a wide variety of fruits and vegetables so important?

One of the best ways to meet your daily vitamin and mineral requirements is to have variety in your daily diet. An easy way of doing this is taking advantage of the seasonal produce at the grocery store. By creating diversity in your diet, you’ll be sure to get the different benefits and nutrients that different types of fruits and vegetables have to offer. According to Better Health, you’ll want to have a mix of different colors in your diet: green vegetables tend to be high in fiber, red will be higher in the powerful antioxidant Lycopene, and orange foods are high in carotenoids, which are high in vitamin A and help skin and immune system health. Additionally, blue, purple, and darker foods are high in antioxidants, and more importantly, can help reduce the chance of heart disease and stroke. We also cannot forget foods that are rich in potassium and anthoxanthins, which include white and brown foods such as mushrooms, garlic, potatoes, and cabbage.

One should also be cautious about what a diet without fruits and vegetables can lead to, since vitamin deficiencies can have adverse effects on your health. According to News Medical Life Sciences, a lack of these foods in your diet can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiency diseases such as scurvy, night blindness, anemia, and osteoporosis. Over an extended period of time, a lack of these foods can also lead to heart problems, digestive issues, metabolic disorders, and can even be linked to depression.

According to USDA’s What’s My Plate, half of what you eat should be fruits and vegetables. We know this can seem daunting, but do not fret, as incorporating fruits and vegetables can be an easy thing to do. Here are some tips to incorporating more fresh foods into your life:

  • Pack fruits and veggies as your to-go snacks before you leave the house: when you are far from your fridge, deciding what to eat doesn’t usually involve too many healthy options. By packing these healthier snacks, you can get ahead of your hunger, and knock out a serving of your daily fruits and veggies.
  • Try new recipes with seasonal vegetables: cooking is one of the best ways to make sure you’re adding essential foods into your diet because you’re the one creating the masterpiece. Cooking can also be a great activity alone, as a date, or a fun activity to incorporate your family into. Trying new recipes with others can make cooking fun and exciting as well.
  • Meal prep your produce: fruit can be easier to grab and go, but some veggies can take time to prepare. We recommend having some vegetables premade for the week, or you can freeze meals that are ready to hit the microwave for your next lunch, so that you can make getting those greens or blues, reds, purples, and oranges a little easier.
  • Remember you are human: not every person can hit their healthy goals every day. But, it is the continued effort to make small changes in your diet, such as adding more of these foods, which can have big impacts on your health.

So what produce should you try this summer?

California has a very diverse range of produce that grows in the summer, so look for these fruits and vegetables the next time you go to the grocery store and add them to the next recipe you want to try:

Fruits in season:

  • Raspberries, grapes, figs, grapefruits, figs, pears, plums, cherries, melons, Valencia oranges, apples, and apricots.

Vegetables in season:

  • Asparagus, broccoli, summer squash*, eggplants*, kale, corn, tomatillos* (great for salsa), turnips, mushrooms, cucumber*, peppers*, and collards.

*some produce is technically considered fruit by nature of having seeds, but used as vegetables in culinary use.

Remember that maintaining a healthy diet starts with incorporating lots of different fruits and vegetables into your diet, and an easy way to maintain this diversity is by shopping for produce seasonally. The benefits you see from incorporating more of these foods may not be seen on a day-to-day basis, but can have positive effects on your long-term health. Summer is the perfect time to create a positive change in your diet, and we hope that it inspires you to incorporate more produce into your life.

Are you noticing issues with your health outside of your diet? Healthpointe specializes in a wide range of specialties such as orthopedic care, occupational medicine, physical therapy, and more. If you would like to schedule an appointment, you can click here to request one, or call (888) 824-5580 to see which location is closest to you.

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