Although spring is the season of hope and new growth, summer and fall bring the glory of abundant produce and the promise of health. Farm stands blossom along the roads and the Downtown Saturday market is flourishing. Use fruits to replace packaged sweets. Fruits are the original sweet – think of those bright melons, yielding peaches and plums, crisp grapes to name but a few! Fresh produce has the highest vitamin and mineral content – and by fresh we mean recently picked. That’s the merit of local products (beyond the value of supporting one’s “neighbors”). Fruits and vegetables also provide a variety of phytochemicals – you may know them as antioxidants. There are so many that supplements can NOT compare with real food. Studies suggest that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables (in a pattern that includes whole grains and low-fat milk products) is linked to lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.
Now is a great time to introduce children, especially adolescents, to a variety of fruits and vegetables, and to get into the habit of enjoying these delicious, low-calorie, high-nutrient delights!