watermelonWhen it comes to health, there are some simple habits/routines that can help us stay fit no matter what the age, season or lifestyle. One of them is including fresh seasonal fruits in your daily diet.  Fresh fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals that help in preventing certain diseases and staying healthy.

There are a number of summer fruits available throughout the season and when consumed on a regular basis, they can increase your body’s immunity.

Watermelon is high in lycopene, a phytonutrient that boosts cardiovascular health and fights cancer by protecting cell membranes.

  • Providing 21 percent of daily vitamin C needs, watermelon helps the immune system to fight viruses and infections.
  • Watermelon contains vitamin A, which is important for eye health.
  • Its potassium helps to balance cell fluids, which can prevent muscle cramps.

One cup of the super fruit guava contains these recommended daily amounts; 628 percent vitamin C, 21 percent vitamin A and 20 percent folate.

  • Guava is rich in vitamin C, which destroys free radicals that cause disease.
  • Guava’s vitamin A nourishes healthy skin and mucous membranes.
  • This fruit has more potassium than bananas. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Folate helps tissues grow and cells function.

Mango contains 77 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. It is high in vitamin A. These antioxidants can protect the body from colon, breast and prostate cancers.

  • Carotene-rich fruits like mango are known to prevent lung and oral cancers.
  • Its vitamin B6 promotes healthy brain and nerve function.
  • High in fiber, mango is great for digestion.

Plums provide vitamin C to help fight off summer colds. This vitamin also helps the body to absorb more iron.

  • The antioxidant phenol in plums helps protect fatty cells in the brain and other areas from free radicals.
  • Plums contain vitamin K, which regulates blood clotting.
  • They contain potassium, a key electrolyte that regulates the muscles and nerves.

One cup of blackberries provides 33 percent manganese, 25 percent copper and 29 percent vitamin B5.

  • Manganese is essential for proper bone growth. It regulates metabolism and can slow down the progress of osteoporosis.
  • Copper regulates heart rhythm and can prevent premature aging.
  • Vitamin B5 can help prevent acne and hair loss.

Doctors sometimes prescribe eating blackberries after surgery to speed healing.

Blueberries are high in antioxidants yet low in sugar. They have been found to slow aging, especially in the brain.

  • Studies show that blueberries can prevent heart disease and cancer.
  • Vitamin C is essential for healthy teeth, gums and bone.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant and key nutrient for skin health and wound healing.

Strawberries can help prevent heart disease, macular degeneration and diabetes. They provide 148 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

  • Strawberries, along with blueberries, have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack. The flavonoids in these berries may help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.

One cup of cubed cantaloupe provides 98 percent vitamin C, 108 percent vitamin A and 9 percent potassium.

  • Rich in vitamin A and beta carotenes, cantaloupe promotes healthy eyesight and helps prevent cataracts.
  • Its high fiber content can facilitate weight loss.
  • Potassium reduces the risk of hypertension.

The combined nutrients in cherries can lower inflammation and promote cardiovascular health, studies show.

  • Fresh cherries feature vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
  • Since cherries provide melatonin, some eat them before bedtime for better sleep.
  • Tart cherries contain compounds that lower uric acid levels and can help prevent gout.

Apricots contain vitamins A and C, along with other antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids have been linked to lower levels of heart disease.

  • Apricots contain carotenoids, which can protect the eyes from age-related damage.
  • Like green tea, apricots are rich in catechins, an anti-inflammatory nutrient.

Now that you know that these summer fruits are packed with nutrients and vitamins that our bodies need, you can opt for a combination of these based on your age and specific health requirements. For children of all ages, consumption of these seasonal fruits in optimum quantity can contribute to the growth of their mind and body.

People suffering from diseases like diabetes and heart problems can choose the ones that regulate sugar levels and help in preventing the blockage of arteries. Considering the specific nutritional strengths and preventative qualities of these fruits, you can choose the the ones that offer maximum health benefits.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michele Holincheck, FNP