{Nourish} End of Summer Healthy Harvest

The end of summer marks the availability of a bounty of healthy and delicious produce!  From tomatoes and corn to peppers and eggplant here is what is available now and why you should eat it!!

  • Tomatoes: juicy and sweet, tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. They also offer vitamin K, folate, and vitamin B6, along with several other vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes are rich in Lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain cell health. At only 25 calories a serving i say add them to well…everything!
  • Zucchini: delicious and savory zucchini is a great source of vitamin A, C, K and B6, folate, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Zucchini is high in dietary fiber (offering 10% of the recommended daily value). Dietary fiber aids digestion and creates a strong feeling of satiety. One cup of cooked zucchini is only 29 calories, which makes for a light and nutritious snack, side dish, or addition to a meal.My pick…zucchini on the grill tossed with fresh herbs like oregano and mint and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Peaches: low in calories but very high in nutrients,  this fuzzy, sweet, candy-like fruit can satisfy any sweet tooth.  Peaches are high in vitamin A and potassium. Vitamin A is great for your eyes and keeps your vision sharp, while potassium is good for your blood pressure, kidneys, and preventing bone loss. A large peach has 3g of dietary fiber, which benefits your digestion. Lastly, don’t forget to eat the skin! The skin of a peach is highest in antioxidants, which protect your body from cancers and inflammation. Grill them up and add to a salad or eat alone as dessert.
  • Eggplant: rich and color and meaty eggplants are high in the antioxidants, nasunin, and clorogenic acid. Nasunin is believed to prevent cellular damage in the brain, while chlorogenic acid helps control free radicals and lower bad cholesterol. Eggplant also contains manganese, a mineral that acts like an antioxidant by helping with wound healing and bone health. When grilled or broiled, eggplant is a great low calorie vegetable
  • Jalapeno Peppers: known for their fiery spice and small size, the jalapeno pepper packs a surprising nutritional punch! At 109mg, one pepper contains more than a days worth of vitamin C! They are also very high in vitamins K and A, good for blood clotting and eyesight. Jalapenos are high in potassium, as well as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese. Together these minerals promote healthy blood, healthy bones, and a healthy nervous system. Also, jalapenos contain capsaicin, a compound that gives them their heat/spicy flavor. Capsaicin is known to help speed the metabolism which is beneficial to people trying to lose weight. Finally, it is important to note that while most canned and frozen vegetables and fruit maintain their nutritional value; fresh peppers contain a significantly higher amount of antioxidants than preserved peppers.
  • Corn: nothing makes it feel more like the end of summer than seeing tall fields of corn stretching to the horizon; it is the staple food of summer BBQs and cookouts all over the country. Corn is a good source of folic acid—a B vitamin needed for cell and DNA formation. It is very important that pregnant women get enough folic acid to ensure proper formation of the fetus. Corn is also high in dietary fiber, which is needed to maintain a healthy colon as well as cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels.  Avoid blanketing your corn in butter and instead opt for seasoning it with fresh herbs and spices.

 

Katie Cavuto Boyle MS, RD and Beth Nachman

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