Today, Sarah and I decided to take a little walk to the Union Square Green Market to buy some blueberries for the office. Everything is so fresh and colorful that when we got there we couldn’t help but take some pictures! Then we thought, “wouldn’t it be fun to make a list of some of the yummiest vegetables and fruits that are in season?” The answer is, yes, it would be fun. So here we are and we have for you a list with some health benefits you might not have known about, plus a few random facts… Did anyone else know that some varieties of radish can grow to be 100lbs?! Neither did we. Oh, and before we carry on, please excuse our awful puns– and by awful we mean amazing.
Confessions of Saint Aubergine
Also known as eggplant! Eggplants are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Turns out, eggplants are great brain food! Research on the eggplant has focused on an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in eggplant skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant that protects cell membranes from damage. It has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform.
Fun Fact Eggplants are berries, not vegetables.
Find some Blueberried Treasure
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, they are also comprised of properties that are antibacterial and antiviral. In fact, they have the higher levels of antioxidants than any other fruit. Blueberries are rich in vitamins A, C, E and B complex. They also contain iron, selenium, copper, and zinc. Even the blue shade of blueberries provides us with bioflavenoid and antioxidant rich anthocyanin. All of these wonderful elements will boost your immunity and help keep colds, infections, and cancer causing free-radicals at bay. Another cool thing that blueberries can help with is age related vision problems– such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. The various vitamins, minerals, and lutein found in blueberries are known to help maintain ocular health. Also, blueberries contain anthocyanosides, which can reduce vision loss, eye strain and maintain a healthy retina.
Fun Fact July is actually Blueberry month in America! Make sure to gobble some up before the month is over to show your love!
Off the beeten path
Beets are high in nutrients and minerals, they cleanse the body, and so on. But! Did you know that many consider beets to be nature’s viagra? Yup! One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac… and that’s not just urban legend – science backs it up! Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones. It can also get you in the mood with it’s high levels of betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression. Beets also contain trytophan which is found in chocolate and contributes to a sense of well being.
Fun fact In Australia, pickled beets are commonly put on hamburgers… sounds delicious!
The King’s Peach
It has been said that peaches are one of the top favorite fruits in america; in fact, peaches are ranked number 3! From peach cobblers to Bellinis, it’s easy to see why this summer time favorite makes so many people happy. Did you know that peaches are good for digestion and have a diuretic effect – you can eat these fruits to cleanse your kidneys and bladder. They’re also really good for your skin. The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form or applied topically, can reduce wrinkles, improve overall skin texture, and help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution. Vitamin C also plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the support system of your skin. They’re often used in cosmetics. Simply put, these vitamins are crucial for regenerating skin tissue.
Fun Fact Renoir encouraged students to improve their painting skills by reproducing the textures and colors of peaches. Also, August is National Peach Month!
Corn to be wild!
Corn is a surprising source of several vitamins, including folic acid, niacin, and Vitamin C. The folic acid in corn is now known to be an important factor in preventing neural-tube birth defects. It’s just as important in preventing heart disease, according to studies that show folic acid can prevent a buildup of homocysteine, an amino acid, in the body. Long-term elevation of homocysteine has been linked to higher rates of heart disease; folic acid helps break it down. According to researchers, corn oil has been shown to have an anti-atherogenic effect on cholesterol levels– thus reducing the risk of various cardiovascular diseases. Corn oil, particularly, is the best way to increase heart health, and this is derived from the fact that corn is close to an optimal fatty acid combination. This allows omega-3 fatty acids to strip away the damaging “bad” cholesterol and replace them at the binding sites. “Keeping up with your Corn-Dashians” will reduce the chances of arteries becoming clogged, reduce blood pressure, and decrease the change of heart attack and stroke.
Fun fact There are over 3500 uses for corn. it’s used in everything from peanut butter to batteries.
Life is just a Bowl of Cherries
For those who suffer from arthritis and gout, you will be relieved to find out that adding cherries to your diet can greatly decrease the intense pain associated with those ailments. Excess uric acid in the blood is the culprit behind the excruciating pain that causes swelling, tenderness and inflammation. A study done by the USDA found that uric acid can be reduced by as much as 15 percent by eating 2 cups of Bing cherries. Cherries can also help reduce painful inflammation by decreasing the amount of C-reactive protein produced. Some cherries can even help you sleep! Tart cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that helps make you feel sleepy. Two tablespoons of tart cherry juice has been shown in studies to be just as effective as a melatonin supplement. So, pour yourself a little cherry juice nightcap for a tasty bedtime sleep aid.
Fun Fact Cherries belong to the rose family.
Look okra here
Okra is a really good source of fiber, nutrients and vitamins. In fact, for thousands of years (okra is said to date back 3500 years) people have loved okra for both it’s delicious taste and it’s health benefits. Out of the many health benefits, one that we think is particularly cool is how it can help with pregnancy. An extremely important B vitamin, folate, can be found in okra and it is known for producing and maintaining new cells. Folate is an essential compound for optimal pregnancy because it helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and helps the baby to healthily grow. Vitamin C is also essential for fetal development. Okra is rich in both folate and vitamin C.
Fun Fact Okra can also be referred to as a Lady Finger.
Apricot-dabra! Health benefits in magic proportions!
Simply put, apricots are the kings of the antioxidant kingdom! These antioxidants lower the amount of impurities that the system can take in. Harmful free radicals are suppressed and thus any form of pollution from the environment is taken care of by consuming apricots. We all know that Asthma is a disorder of the lungs which is marked by weak lungs and the inability to breathe well. But did you know that you can keep away the pollutants by eating apricots and stay free from asthma!? Apricots are also rich in calcium content– the human body requires Calcium for bone formation and bone development. Lack of Calcium leads to a disorder of the bones called Osteoporosis. The high Calcium content in apricots is beneficial in the keeping of bone health and saves you from brittle bones.
Fun fact According to English Folklore, dreaming about apricots is good luck.
Jalapeño Health System
No pain, no gain! Jalapeños are rich with capsaicin (the active component in peppers that make ’em spicy). Capsaicin drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves (according to studiespublished in the March 15 issue of Cancer Research.) According to the research, capsaicin induced approximately 80% of prostate cancer cells growing in mice to follow the molecular pathways leading to apoptosis. Prostate cancer tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumors in non-treated mice. “Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture,” said Dr. Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D. “It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models.”
Fun fact Jalapeños were the first peppers that travelled into space on a NASA shuttle.