Many people take the benefits of summer fruit for granted. When it comes to “health food,” veggies, leafy greens and herbs seem to get all the attention. Fruit may be sweet, but that doesn’t make it any less healthy. These summertime faves are just as wonderful for your body as they are for your tastebuds.
1. Cherries: Bite-Sized Body Protectors
Cherries are fun to eat and irresistibly delicious. There are many varieties, including Rainier, Bing, Morello and black cherries. Some are sweeter, others are on the tart side, but all have fantastic health benefits.
Tart cherry juice can reduce soreness, alleviate inflammation and joint pain, and speed up wound healing. It can also help you sleep better, thanks to high melatonin levels.
Cherries are a filling snack that helps you avoid the munchies, with 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per cup. They're amazing for lowering uric acid levels, which is a huge help (a 35% reduction in gout attacks!) for people with gout problems.
2. Watermelon: The Ultimate Refresher
This juicy summer favorite may be mostly water, but it also has many antioxidants, including lycopene and carotenoids. Lycopene is famed for protecting the heart and lowering blood pressure.
One of the best ways to use watermelon is as a post-workout refresher. Watermelon can improve circulation, physical performance and muscle recovery after exercise, plus help restore your body’s electrolytes.
Watermelon juice is a breeze to make in a blender. You can even add sparkling water or mint for extra pep.
3. Lemons: Tangy Little Recipe Helpers
The great thing about fresh lemons and limes isn’t just the abundant vitamin C they have. It’s how versatile these tart superstars are. Lemons work wonders in a variety of dishes:
- Homemade vinaigrettes
- Grilled salmon with basil and lime
- Roasted lemon chicken
- Pasta with seafood and lemon sauce
- Lemon-garlic sweet potatoes
- Lime-marinated fajitas
- Garden salad with lime and cilantro
- Zesty spiced pears
As far as health benefits go, citrus fruits can lower cholesterol levels, help some people avoid kidney stones, lower the risk of certain cancers and help you get more iron in your diet.
4. Passion Fruit: The Perfect Juice Fruit
This tropical fruit has a hard shell filled with gel-covered seeds. It’s rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber and antioxidants, all with just 17 calories per fruit. These nutrients support eye health and healthy aging.
Instead of eating the seeds directly (though you can), most people use them to make refreshing juices. All you do is add the seeds/gel to your blender with some water, juice them and strain the seeds. Passion fruit is an excellent addition to green smoothies.
5. Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries and Blueberries: Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouses
Berries are the poster children of antioxidants. They’re some of the healthiest foods you can eat — period. In case you haven’t heard, antioxidants are special nutrients from plants that help strengthen your body’s defenses. As a result, they support smoother skin, better eyesight and a healthier heart.
Many scientists think that eating more berries helps you avoid brain fog. The same antioxidants that give berries their dark colors are great for long-term brain health, improving mental performance and memory and lowering the risk of dementia.
Eat Fruit Now!
Summer is the perfect time to sink your teeth into these juicy, tasty, healthy fruits. If you can't find fresh (or prices are crazy), remember that frozen fruits retain most of their nutrients.