-Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
Super-fresh and sweet fruits are more readily available around the country during the summer months. Active seniors may find great entertainment and enjoyment in visiting a farmers market to buy fruit. That fruit provides plenty of vitamins, fiber, water (hydration), and antioxidants can be considered a bonus. Look, in particular, for these five fruits this summer:
Blackberries have been shown in a range of scientific studies to have amazing properties beyond their vitamin C levels and large amounts of antioxidants, including building bone density and enhancing fat-burning. Look for dark, shiny berries that are plump and feel heavy for their size. Rinse blackberries just before using, since they will absorb some of the water, thus reducing how long they will last. Different varieties of blackberries come into season at various points in July and August.
Blueberries are frequently cited as a “super food” because of their high antioxidant levels. They can help prevent painful urinary tract infections. Look for plump, firm, dull looking berries. Avoid containers that have any mushy berries in them, since they quickly affect the berries around them.
Cherries start to come into season in June in warmer areas and July in cooler climates. Look for bright, shiny, firm cherries with fresh-looking green stems still attached. Cherries have been shown to ease pain from arthritis, lower “bad” cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation in general.
Eating melon is a great way to stay cool and hydrated in the summer. Melons contain a high amount of fiber. Watermelon in particular have been shown to reduce risk of cancer. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are all at their ripest in late July, August, and September. Look for melons that feel heavy for their size for the juiciest, sweetest fruit.
There are so many strawberry varieties these days, each designed to grow and ripen in different climates and at different times of year, that fresh strawberries can be found almost all year long. However, super-fresh locally grown berries taste the sweetest and the best in many parts of the U.S. Strawberries are in season sometime in late June, July, and early August. Besides their amazingly sweet, almost floral flavor, strawberries are chock-full of antioxidants and can help reduce “bad” cholesterol. Look for strawberries that are firm, bright red, and shiny with green caps still attached. Avoid strawberries that have any white or green spots near the cap; these were picked before being completely ripe. Like blackberries, rinse fresh strawberries just before using.