The spotlight for this segment is berries and melons. Both berries and melons are linked to numerous health benefits with some of the most profound being associated with brain function. Focus, memory improvement, and prevention of age related memory loss are all commonly reported advantages of consuming these types of fruits. Additionally, both berries and melons have been known to work wonders on the skin. Berries are high in Vitamin C which helps to hydrate skin and increase collagen and elastin levels. Melons utilize their vitamin A, B, and C levels to provide anti-aging effects to skin.
As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries have been enjoyed here for hundreds of years. They are typically available it two major varieties: your classic blueberry and the wild blueberry (which are smaller and contain almost twice the amount of antioxidants). Many studies have linked regular consumption of blueberries to improved memory function and focus. Blueberries score pretty low on the glycemic index making them alright for people with diabetes. In fact, blueberries have been proven to have positive effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. The nutritional benefits of blueberries are most potent when eating them in their raw form. Freezing the raw berries is a great way to extend the storage capacity of the berries, and it does not reduce or damage its antioxidant properties.
This smoothie recipe from the 1° of Change Cookbook takes advantage of the powerful benefits of blueberries.
Blueberry Blast Smoothie:
- 1-2 cups frozen blueberries
- 1 cup unsweetened almond, cashew, macadamia, hemp, or soy milk
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or apple juice
- 2 medium bananas
- ¼ cup raw almonds
- ¼ cup raw walnuts
- 1 tablespoon flax meal
Put all of the ingredients into the blender. Blend on high for 30-60 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Add more liquid if your prefer a thinner consistency.
Strawberries have been enjoyed in culinary feats since the Roman times. Strawberry is actually a misnomer. They belong to the same family of plants as roses. Strawberries have been used medicinally throughout history for relief from digestive ailments, teeth whitening, and lowering blood pressure. Their fiber and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. Strawberries are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. The peak season for strawberries is between the months of April and June. Choose brightly colored, firm, shiny berries that still have their fresh, vibrant green tops attached. Typically, the smaller the berry the more intense the flavor. Be sure to take advantage of the many wonderful health benefits that strawberries have to offer this season.
This Strawberry Bruschetta recipe is a great way to capitalize on the mouth-watering strawberry flavor in a twist on traditional summer fare.
Watermelon is one of the most recognizable fruits in the world. When you think of summer fruit you undoubtedly think about watermelon. Melons are some of the best natural sources of antioxidants. Watermelons are available throughout the year but they are at their sweetest in the summer and early fall. Watermelons contain 92% water, making them excellent for preventing dehydration during the summer heat. Watermelon is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin B1, beta carotene, vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium. Watermelon’s secret weapon is lycopene. Lycopene is the red carotenoid pigment found in watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, and especially tomatoes. It is great for promoting bone health, neutralizing free radicals, and muscle building. Don’t limit yourself to just the flesh of this fruit. Watermelon rinds (usually white/ light green) contain citruline, a compound that relaxes blood vessels and maintains elasticity of blood vessels and arteries. This watermelon salad capitalizes on watermelon’s ability to pair well with savory items just as well as it does with sweet ones.