There’s no better vitamin manufacturer than mother nature! While some fruits and vegetables can be found year-round, many locally-grown fruits and vegetables can only be enjoyed during their seasonal months. Why not support your community and liven up your diet with some healthy choices at the same time? Here’s a list of delicious fruits and vegetables that are enriched with vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy,energized and satisfied:
- Avocados. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. One common misconception of this delicious, creamy fruit is that their high fat content makes them them bad for you. While it is true they are high in fat, it is important to note that they are good fats. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids which help lower bad cholesterol. In moderation, avocados can help lower your chances of heart disease. Start making that guacamole!
- Cucumbers. With only 16 calories in a cup, a cucumber is a great addition to any meal. This versatile vegetable has a high nutrient content, especially in fiber, potassium, and vitamin K. Its numerous health benefits include increasing bone density and reducing blood pressure, constipation and risk of colon cancers, . Make sure to keep the cucumber’s skin and seeds for the greatest health benefit.
- Squash. With so many different ways to prepare it, this versatile fall vegetable satisfies many dietary needs. With its blood sugar and insulin regulating qualities, squash can help protect against type 2 diabetes. B-vitamins are plentiful in squash, and high levels of fiber, vitamin A and calcium make it a healthy choice in virtually any season.
- Swiss Chard. All greens are beneficial, but why not change it up and try something a little less common? Swiss chard is a nutritional powerhouse: an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and fiber. The antioxidants in Swiss chard provide an anti-inflamatory benefit. Additionally, this vegetable is extremely beneficial for those with diabetes due to its sugar-regulating factors.
- Blueberries. This popular berry is not only tasty, but those who enjoy it will also reap numerous health benefits, including strengthening the immune system. Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant value fruits, and are linked to improved memory as well as a reduced risk of cancers, degenerative diseases and infections. Blueberries prevent cellular damage and protect DNA. It is recommended to eat the berry raw for the best taste and also for the best effects. RELATED: Food Spotlight: Blueberries and Your Brain
- Peppers. Peppers of all colors are full of vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamins C, A, B6 and B9 (folate). This flavorful vegetable is linked to preventing both cancer and heart disease. Research from the University of Illinois has also shown that peppers can decrease brain inflammation, assisting in Alzheimers prevention. For only 28 calories a cup, peppers go well with almost any meal.
- Watermelon. Stay hydrated with this vitamin-rich, fun-colored summer fruit. Watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin A and C, as well as Vitamins B1 and B6. Watermelon is also full of antioxidants such as Lycopene and Beta Carotene, and can help reduce complications with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis.
- Tomatoes. From flavorful Italian sauces to fresh, spicy salsa, you can’t go wrong with tomatoes! These red powerhouse veggies provide a huge amount nutrients, including Vitamins C, A and K , potassium and dietary fiber. Tomatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant Lycopene, which has been shown to prevent skin damage from ultra-violet (UV) rays and offer protection from skin cancer. Tomatoes also support bone health, reduction in cardivascular disease risk, and diabetes.
- Peaches. If you are craving something sweet that won’t hurt your waistline, bite into a juicy peach. Low in calories and high in flavor, these delicious fruits will satisfy and support any diet with their 0% fat content. Peaches are moderate sources of Vitamins C, A and Beta Carotene, and are rich in many vital minerals such as potassium, fluoride and iron. If you’re looking to satisfy that sweet tooth, peaches are a healthy summer choice to keep weight gain out of the picture.
- Eggplant. An often overlooked part of the vegetable family, eggplant provides numerous health benefits essential to any diet. Low in both calories and fats while being extremely high in fiber, this vegetable enhances easy digestion, regulates blood sugar levels, and ensures a healthy cholesterol level. The dark skins of some eggplant varieties are an excellent source of antioxidants, and its pulpy fruit is a good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron and potassium.
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