Super Summer Foods

Summer is a great season to enjoy what nature has to offer - fresh fruits and vegetables. Whether you're trying to lose weight or just want to eat healthy, summer provides your pick of produce. Summer fruits and vegetables in addition to having lower calories than snack foods, offer antioxidants. Antioxidants are micronutrients that play a role in the preventing chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis. The best way to get antioxidants is not from supplements, but from fresh fruits and vegetables. (However, due to poor dietary choices and habits, and declining food nutrient composition, most Americans probably need to supplement to obtain optimal levels)

Not all antioxidants are equal. The USDA surveyed the antioxidant capacity of volunteers who had just eaten blueberries, cherries, dried plums, dried-plum juice, grapes, kiwis or strawberries. They found that some antioxidants are easier to absorb and use than others. Grapes and kiwi fruits came out winners, leading to noticeable spikes in antioxidant capacity. For blueberries a larger than normal serving - cup, was needed to make an impact on antioxidant capacity levels. Plums, despite their high antioxidant content weren't found to have any effect on antioxidant capacity. However, they have other effects on gastro-intestinal function. Getting your daily servings of fruits and vegetables is a good thing, because there is a lot more to foods than what is routinely measured by the USDA. So, go ahead, visit the local farms and farm stands this weekend. Getting back in touch with nature is also good for your health.


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