As the days get warmer, bring on the cool refreshment of fruit. Now is the time to delight in fruit’s tasty, healthy goodness.
Reduce Risk and Protect
A healthy diet that is rich in fruits may reduce risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, and may protect against certain types of cancers.
Nature brings most fruit to us low in fat, sodium, and calories, and always with zero cholesterol. Fruits are a great source of many essential nutrients and most of us don’t get enough. These include:
- Dietary fiber – helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, is important for maintaining proper bowel function, helps reduce constipation, and provides a feeling of fullness without too many calories.
- Potassium – helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.
- Vitamin C – important for repairing all body tissues, healing cuts and wounds, and keeping teeth and gums healthy.
- Folate (folic acid) – helps the body form red blood cells and reduces the risk of neural tube defects during fetal development.
The USDA MyPlate recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables. http://www.choosemyplate.gov
How Can You and Your Family Eat More Fruit?
- For snacks, wash whatever fruits you have on hand and place them in a big attractive bowl or basket on your table or desk. When you go by, you can grab one and start munching on it.
- Make fruit more fun and interesting by cutting it up and making it into a colorful fruit salad.
- Add fresh, frozen, or canned fruit to a smoothie or shake. Add fruit to drinks like tea and lemonade. Add some fruit to your water for a little kick of taste.
- Make a habit of using fruit as a plate garnish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Add a variety of fruit chunks to bamboo skewers or craft sticks for kabobs.
- Fruit added to yogurt provides more color, flavor, and nutrition.
- Since dried fruits last a long time, you can store a package in your car, desk, or even your pockets for a quick pick-me-up.
Sweet, refreshing, good for you fruit – now is the time to savor and enjoy.
For more information, contact your UF/IFAS county extension office.