Fresh Foods, Free Radicals and Farmer’s Markets

Summer foods are good for your health

lemonContributed by Sonal Hill, MS, RD, LD

For me, enjoying summer to the fullest includes indulging in all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. Whether I enjoy them raw, prepared in my favorite recipes or as a cool, fruity dessert, nothing compares to the taste of produce when it’s at its peak of freshness. And best of all, it has great nutritional benefits as well.

Eat your colors
Did you know that brightly colored fruits and vegetables tend to be higher in antioxidants and certain plant nutrients, called phytonutrients? Antioxidants help slow down the normal wear and tear on your body’s cells. Phytonutrients, have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and different types of diseases. In fact, a recent study reported that eating at least two servings of peaches and nectarines weekly reduced the risk of developing ER- breast cancer by a whopping 41 percent in postmenopausal women. The study also said eating just one serving of blueberries weekly reduced this risk by 31 percent.

What’s your favorite color?
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, colors have different health benefits. For instance, purple/red fruits like berries, plums, grapes, and pomegranates are particularly high in antioxidants. Deep orange fruits and veggies are rich in carotenes. And that’s only two colors! Think of how healthy you’d be if you incorporated the other colors in your diet!

Where can I get the freshest produce?
Seasonal fruits and vegetables can be purchased at your local grocery store or a farmers market. If you live in the Greater Cincinnati area, it’s a pretty safe bet there’s a farmer’s market near you.

For more tips on eating healthy this summer, come to one of our Lunch and Learns. I’ll be talking about “Stress Busters: Controlling cravings and planning meals” on July 12 and “Fad Diets, Functional Foods, and Hot Topics: What works, what doesn’t?” on July 19.

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