A Fruit Punch to Beat This Summer
The word summers will remind us of beautiful beaches, swimming pools, water parks, and a whole lot of fun, along with these there is a need for good nutrition to keep illnesses at bay. Summers are here in India, and we all could feel the rising temperatures already! It is this time that most of us worry about our family’s health, especially kids. It is common to fall sick and dehydrated. The schools are off, so much playing around happens, and there are high chances of dehydration if not properly fed and hydrated. Forget about kids, we as an adult forget to take enough water sometimes. With every season, there are climatic changes that affect everything around us. Eventually, to accommodate these changing seasons without getting ill, we require a different seasonal food set to gain the best nutritional values.
What are seasonal foods?
Seasonal food basically refers to the harvest of food is at its peak in terms of flavors and textures. Each season offers particular local produce which offers advice on what and when foods should be eaten. Generally, during monsoons, we have lady’s finger, colocasia leaves, apples, custard apples, stone fruits, etc in season. During winters, we have greens such as spinach, mustard, fenugreek, amaranth, different kinds of beans, radish, red and black carrots, spring onion, strawberries, grapes, figs, Indian gooseberry, etc. During summer, we have various gourd vegetables, lady’s finger, jackfruit, pumpkin, cucumbers, brinjal, mango, litchi, melons, Indian blackberry, palm fruit, cashew, etc in India.
Summer fruits are great for hydrating. There are various fruits rich in texture and flavor during summers. A few commonly available summer fruits in India are watermelon, papaya, mango, muskmelon, pineapple, oranges, amla (Indian gooseberry), and kiwi. Fruits and vegetables generally carry a whole lot of nutrients making them the most essential part of our diet.
We change our wardrobe in summer so should be our diet, fitting for the climate and requirements of the body. Being out in the sun, and losing a lot of water through sweating can put all of us at higher risk for dehydration. It has a fairly simple and tasty solution. Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables during summer. The food is tastiest when it is fresh and the nutrients are at their peak.
Below are a few fruits that must be added to your diet right away in summers —
Mango is not just delicious but is very nutritious. It is high in vitamin C which aids the immune system, helps absorb iron, and promotes cell growth and repair. It is low in calories, but high in nutrients. Studies have found that consuming fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C and carotenoids could help prevent the onset of diabetes. These fruits are packed with polyphenols which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants. These are important to protect the cells against free radicals. Mangiferin is a super-antioxidant that is powerful among others. It also improves digestive and heart health.
1 cup (165 grams) of mango contains —
Calories- 107; Vitamin A- 25% of DV (Daily Value)
Fiber- 3 grams; Vitamin C- 76% of DV (Daily Value)
sugar- 24 grams; Potassium- 257 milligrams
protein- 1 gram; Vitamin B6- 0.2 milligrams
Melons are various plants of the family Cucurbitaceae. Fruits included as melons are watermelons, muskmelons, etc. Watermelon is packed with water and nutrients, contains very few calories, and is exceptionally refreshing. This juicy melons have several health benefits including lowering blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced muscle soreness. Watermelon is the richest known dietary source of the amino acid citrulline. The highest amount is found in the white rind that surrounds the flesh. This citrulline is transformed into the essential amino acid arginine. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in watermelon. In fact, watermelons are considered a better source of lycopene than tomatoes. Muskmelon or Cantaloupes knock out all the yellow-orange fruits when it comes to beta-carotene. This fruit has more beta-carotene than apricots, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, tangerines, nectarines, and mangoes.
100 grams of watermelon contains —
Calories- 30; Water- 91%
Protein- 0.6 grams; Carbohydrates- 7.6 grams
Sugar- 6.2 grams; Fiber- 0.4 grams
100 grams of muskmelon contains —
Calories- 34; Carbohydrates- 8.6 grams
Protein- 0.84 grams; Dietary fiber- 0.9 grams
Oranges are a treasure of nutrients and protective plant compounds including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These fruits are high in beneficial plant compounds flavonoids — Hesperidin and naringenin. Hesperidin has a blood pressure-lowering and improving effect, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Naringenin is linked to improving blood vessel function and enhancing antioxidant defenses in the body. Carotenoids like beta-cryptoxanthin and lycopene protect cells against oxidative damage and prevent heart diseases. Vitamin C is the most well-known and well-researched antioxidant which has proven to be essential for the immune system. Higher dietary intake and blood concentrations of vitamin C have been linked to a lower risk of heart health, cancer, and death from all causes.
1 Orange (140 grams) contains —
Calories- 66; Water- 86%
Protein- 1.3 grams; Carbohydrates- 14.8 grams
Sugar- 12 grams; Fiber- 2.8 grams
Fat- 0.2 grams; Vitamin C- 92% of DV (Daily Value)
Folate- 9% of DV (Daily Value)
4. Amla (Indian Gooseberry):
Amla is also known as Indian gooseberry is an ancient fruit in use for 1000 years. High concentrations of vitamin C in amla help the body recover from illness. This is called a “super-fruit” because of its high vitamin C content. 100 gram serving of amla contains as much vitamin C as 20 oranges. The soluble fiber in amla dissolves quickly in the body and slows the rate of glucose absorption. This helps prevent unwanted spikes in blood glucose levels. They also help in regular bowel movements and may relieve symptoms of certain conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. They are rich in vitamin A which may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration. It aids in eye health by fighting bacteria. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
1 cup (150 grams) of gooseberries contains —
Calories- 66; Vitamin C- 46% of DV (Daily Value)
Carbohydrates- 15 grams; Vitamin B5- 9% of DV (Daily Value)
Protein- 1 gram; Vitamin B6- 7% of DV (Daily Value)
Fiber- 7 grams; Copper- 12% of DV (Daily Value)
Fat- Less than 1 gram; Manganese- 9% of DV (Daily Value)
In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter, and perfectly ripe. Also, fruits and vegetables when taken for consumption that has been naturally ripened on the tree and harvested at right time have much more flavor and nutrition. They are not just cheap but support the body’s nutritional needs and are environmentally friendly.