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Summer Fruits, Summer Fun!

Fruits are important in our diets because they contain lots of antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols; they also contain fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene.

It is believed that fruits can help prevent cardiovascular disease, by reducing blood pressure and inflammation, but the mechanisms are not clear and the findings are not consistent, yet.

OK so what’s a flavonoid? Flavonoids are a group of plant metabolites thought to provide health benefits by changing cell signaling pathways and by their antioxidant effects. Flavonoids are important antioxidants and provide beneficial effects that may be Anti-viral and Anti-cancer. Fruits with a high flavonoid content include blueberries and other berries, bananas, all citrus fruits,  Flavonoids, found in a wide range of brightly colored fruits and vegetables — blueberries, plums, apples, cherries, oranges, strawberries, help to protect the body’s cells from damage that may contribute to cancer and a host of other maladies. Apples (flavonoids are in the skin)

Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. They’re packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It’s thought that they can improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.

Good fruit sources are oranges, apples, grapes, peaches, grapefruit juice, cherries, blueberries, pomegranate, raspberries, cranberries, black elderberries, blackcurrants, plums, blackberries, strawberries, apricots

The number of polyphenols in a food can vary depending on where the food is grown, how it is farmed and transported, how ripe it is, and how it is cooked or prepared.

Now; what do we do with this information? I think we store it away and use it as one of the thoughts that take away the guilt of eating something delicious!

But the fruit has to be fresh and ripe. I want you to go the grocery store not more than once a week; more than that is too triggering. So if you are choosing fruit for your week, I want you to choose several different kinds. Take out your food plan and check the number of fruits you need for the week. Multiply by 7 for 7 days; then add the fruit for other family members if that is your situation.

Now, we want to enjoy some fruits right away – raspberries and strawberries won’t last more than 2 days and be fresh; blueberries and cherries will last a little longer. If you buy peaches, check how ripe they are.

Is there a bit of softness to the skin? Ripe fruit often feels a bit more “heavy” than unripe. Gently squeeze the fruit. Some fruits, like apples, are firm when ripe; others like peaches get a softness to their skin What color is the skin? Does it have a “luster”?

Pineapple is ripe when you can pull a green leaf off the top, easily, and the background of the fruit is yellow, not green. Pineapples ripen from bottom to top, so you can see how ripe they are by watching the color as it moves up each day.

The same for cantaloupe, the undercoat turns from green to yellow as it ripens. And check the stems. Some fruits, like pears and cantaloupes, should be a bit softer around the stem. Watermelon sounds hollow when you tap it, if it is ripe.

Bananas can take several days to ripen on your counter. Always check the color. Color is an important indicator of ripeness. Strawberries should be deep red, bananas should be yellow and oranges should be orange. Smell the fruit. The fragrance of a ripe fruit should be quite noticeable when you pick it up.

So choose a variety and think about how fast they will ripen; choose what you need so the fruit will be ready to eat when you are ready for it.

I always suggest you add some frozen fruit to your shopping cart; it will last a long time and rescue you if something goes wrong.

If you weigh your fruit, note that the stone inside it weighs very little; but choose fruit that gives you no more than one ounce over your food plan. If the worst happens and you find yourself facing a 13 oz peach and some nearly dead strawberries, you have the perfect makings of a fruit salad. Cut them up, put them in a container, add a bit of water and let them sit overnight. They will be sweet and delicious by morning.

Food has two purposes: to nourish the body, and to provide the nutrients we need. The nutrients are more available when the fruit is ripe, but not rotten. So enjoy the fresh fruits of summer and we will talk more next week.

As always, please reply; or share with a friend. And call me if you have a question.

We still have the green sweater and the scale waiting for their owners to claim them!

I hope you enjoy this beautiful weather and are able to avoid all the traffic jams!

Blessings to you,

Theresa

 

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