Which are the healthiest summer fruits?
Summer brings a delicious rainbow of fruits to enjoy, which hydrate the body and give it the energy it needs to deal with hot and balmy days.
Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and compounds that can reduce the risk of heart problems.
The fibre they contain is also believed to lower the risk of some cancers.
According to the Cancer Council of Queensland, only 57 per cent of Australian adults eat the recommended two serves of fruit per day, with a standard serve being about 150g.
Most fruits are low in calories and high in fibre and water, making you feel fuller and reducing the risk of weight gain.
So which summer fruits bring the best health benefits?
Tropical pineapple offers a great source of vitamin C, which the body needs to grow and repair tissue.
It also contains dietary fibre, important for a healthy bowel, and minerals such as manganese, important for brain and nerve function.
Sydney nutritionist Angela Emmerton says pineapples are a perfect treat for the season of indulgence.
“They’re rich in a group of digestive enzymes called bromelain, which aids the digestion and absorption of proteins,” says Angela.
“Bromelain also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory that can help you recover faster after a tough workout.
“Including a little pineapple alongside the festive ham and turkey will help your digestive system and reduce unwanted bloating.”
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Sweet, juicy mangoes are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain vitamin B6 and dietary fibre.
This summer favourite also contains potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, and magnesium and calcium, keeping bones strong.
Angela recommends blending mango through a smoothie for a vitamin C boost.
“Mangoes contain the digestive enzyme amylase, which breaks down carbs, so they are easily absorbed by the body,” says Angela.
“Blending a cup of mango in a smoothie will give you 70 per cent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which will aid your immune system and help your body absorb iron.”
Whether they are strawberries, blackberries or blueberries, berry fruits are packed with goodness and support heart health.
One study found women who ate three or more servings a week of strawberries and blueberries had a lower risk of having a heart attack than those with lower intake.
Sydney nutritionist Gabby Ratner says berries are a nutritional powerhouse you can enjoy in abundance, given their low-calorie and sugar content.
“In summer they are so fresh and vibrant and contain abundant antioxidants, vitamins and fibre,” says Gabby.
“Studies have shown berries to be cancer protective, heart healthy and generally reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which cause disease and ageing.”
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Nothing says summer like a slice of watermelon on the beach.
The refreshing fleshy treat is inexpensive, nutritious and considered low in calories.
It’s full of goodies such as vitamin C, minerals such as potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure, dietary fibre, which is important to keep you regular, and the antioxidant lycopene, which may protect against some cancers and heart disease.
“Watermelon is extremely hydrating in summer, made of over 90 per cent water,” says Gabby.
These bright red fruits are rich in fibre, vitamin C and minerals such as potassium and may protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cherry juice may also help reduce blood pressure due to its high polyphenol content, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition.
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Written by Melissa Iaria.