Produce doesn’t get much sweeter than this. Our seasonal produce picks below are oh-so flavorful and pack a nutritional punch to boot. Read on to find out why you’re going to want to include these fruits and vegetables in your next meal, snack, or bored doodle (yeah they’re that awesome!).
One of the greenest and leafiest of the leafy greens, one leaf (it is a big leaf) provides half your daily vitamin A, a quarter of your vitamin C, five times your vitamin K, and is a good source of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Swiss chard is so nutritious, we’re providing a dedicated social media post this week to highlight how to use it. To get you by until then, try replacing the greens in your next salad with Swiss chard. Just remove the fibrous stem in the middle (save it to cook up later because it’s still very nutritious) and wash, chop, and toss the remainder of the leaf as you would other greens.
Green, yellow, orange, and red bell peppers…did you know they’re all from the same plant? Yep, there is no red bell pepper plant or green bell pepper plant. Green is just the unripe pepper and red is fully ripe, with yellow and orange at intermediate stages. Since they’re not ripe, green peppers have an earthier and slightly spicier flavor compared with red, orange, and yellow, which are comparatively sweeter. Less time on the vine also means lower cost but also fewer nutrients. Red peppers have eight times the vitamin A and twice the vitamin C of green peppers. In fact, red peppers have as roughly the same vitamin A content as a carrot and vitamin C as an orange.
Garlic has a more subtle approach to health than Swiss chard or bell peppers (though its flavor is anything but). You won’t find a boast-worthy amount of essential vitamins and minerals in garlic but you will find sulfur (the reason for its pungent flavor and odor). While not essential nutrients, the sulfur compounds in garlic (allicin being the most well-known) have been associated with a host of benefits from cardiovascular health to improved attractiveness (it’s true!). There are so many benefits from garlic we couldn’t fit them all here so we’re dedicating an entire social post to this vampire-killing vegetable later this week. Stay tuned!
On to the sweeter fare. While transitioning from garlic to peaches may send your mouth into a confused downward spiral, don’t pigeonhole this fruit. Peaches can pair wonderfully with garlic as a savory chutney served over pork chops or even marinated in a garlic marinade and grilled. Venture outside your cobbler and pie comfort zone and experiment with this versatile fruit while it lasts. Why eat peaches? Peaches contain a modest amount of vitamin A and C as well as potassium but most importantly they’re a rich source of antioxidant flavonoid which may help protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as support brain health. Plus, they’re soft, juicy, and delicious!
Like peaches, it’s the antioxidants that likely provide the most benefit, rather than the vitamins and minerals. Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C, but the health benefits of apples are attributed primarily to polyphenols. Benefits of eating apples include a reduced risk of cancer (esophageal, lung, larynx, and colorectal especially) as well as the cardio-protective and even cognitive benefits (there’s promising evidence that apples might help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s). Most of the polyphenols are in the skin so include the skin and opt for the whole fruit (raw or cooked) rather than juice (cloudy juice may still offer benefits, though less than the whole fruit).