It’s summertime, which means we have an abundance of tasty summer fruits and vegetables available to us. But why is it good to eat seasonal produce?
- In season fruits and veg are healthier because the nutritional content can diminish over time, so the fresher the better1
- Out of season foods often have to be transported from afar to reach local supermarkets, which comes at a cost – both to the environment and to the consumer
- They’re harvested at peak time, meaning the taste is maximised1
- You can support your local community – one of the best places to find seasonal produce is at a market, and the fruits and veg on sale will generally be from the local area
Here are some fruits and veg that are in season now, and a few of their many health benefits:
Beetroot is packed full of nutrients including fibre, potassium, iron and vitamin C.2 It has also been associated with a number of different health benefits, such as improved blood flow, lower blood pressure and enhanced exercise performance.2
Full of vitamins and minerals, blackberries are a classic British summer fruit; just 145 grams will provide you with half your recommended daily value of vitamin C.3 There are so many ways you can incorporate blackberries into your diet, however one of our favourites (as it’s so easy!) is this tasty blackberry smoothie, not to mention it’s healthy, too.
Cherries have a multitude of health benefits. They are a source melatonin which can improve the quality of your sleep.4 Cherries are packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds: the antioxidant could help with premature ageing, whilst the anti-inflammatory could aid with exercise-induced muscle pain and damage.5
Struggling to think how you could eat more cherries? Here’s a great summery dish – cherry couscous and rocket salad.
Whilst many of us think of a courgette as a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit because it contains seeds.6 Courgettes are a good source of potassium, which helps keep our muscles working, along with vitamin C and folic acid.6
Courgettes can be eaten raw, making them a great salad accompaniment. Or create a salad that uses courgette as the main attraction – simply shave it into thin ribbons, and dress it with some chopped mint, lemon, olive oil and a hint of chilli for an added kick.
Also known as a Boysenberry or tayberry, a loganberry is a form of bramble berry. Each berry packs a powerful health kick – they can help to prevent common health issues such as colds, gout, constipation and even stress and anxiety.6 Research also shows that loganberries can contribute towards reducing blood sugar levels in the body, making them a great snack for diabetics.7
Loganberries can be used interchangeably with raspberries or blackberries in most recipes.
Commonly known for its bright pink colour and tart taste, rhubarb originated in China where its roots were harvested for medicinal use.8 The edible stalk contains anthocyanins, which have demonstrated beneficial effects on blood pressure, and research suggests they may offer anti-cancer benefits.8
If you grow your own rhubarb, be sure to avoid the leaves as they have high concentrations of oxalic acid which makes them unsuitable for consumption.8
Rhubarb is commonly used in sweet desserts such as crumble, however we really like the sound of this healthy and refreshing summery drink; Rhubarb Orange Refresher.
Rocket is a cruciferous vegetable with a strong peppery flavour. Rocket is a good source of nutrients needed for good bone health – it contains high quantities of calcium and vitamin K, both of which contribute to improving bone health.9
Rocket is commonly added to salads, however why not mix it up by adding it to your scrambled eggs, or you could even blend it into a smoothie for an added peppery health kick!
Sometimes referred to as ‘sea asparagus’, samphire is a member of the parsley family. It has a number of health benefits, including improving bowel movement, increasing good bacteria in the gut, and it can assist with blood circulation.10
Because of its salty flavour, samphire is commonly served with fish. For a fresh and tasty low calorie summer meal, give this salmon, samphire and charred cucumber salad a try.
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1 Holland and Barrett, 2 Healthline, 3 Healthline, 4 Rivertea, 5 Healthline, 6 Jamie Oliver, 7 Health Benefits Times, 8 American Institute for Cancer Research, 9 Medical News Today,10 Natural Food Series