Summer Fruit & Fun

June 21, 2010

Its official, summer is here and Supermarket Guru has some suggestions and reminders regarding how to stay cool and enjoy the coming months of summer heat!

Its official, summer is here and Supermarket Guru has some suggestions and reminders regarding how to stay cool and enjoy the coming months of summer heat! 

First things first, avoid dehydration- as it hinders physical and cognitive performance, and during exercise we can sweat as much as 2.5 liters of water per hour.  Excessive fluid loss through sweat can cause a loss of electrolytes potassium and sodium, which can impair the function of vital organs like the heart.  Dehydration can also cause headaches, muscle cramping, problems concentrating, dizziness, irritability, and fainting; therefore getting adequate fluids and electrolytes is a must, especially in the summer heat.  Surprisingly, most people are not properly hydrated even in the cooler months, so Supermarket Guru has some suggestions and hydration solutions that can be found right in your local supermarket!

Electrolytes and even some fluids are readily available in foods like fresh fruits and vegetables- summer offers a wider selection of ripe and juicy fruits and vegetables than any other season.  In season produce is often less expensive than other times of the year, more nutritious and flavorful.  In other words, eating your way to a hydrated, healthy, fit body is as enjoyable and wallet friendly as it is good for you.  Here's a list of some in-season fruit to kick off your summer with a fresh, nutritious and fruity splash. 

Summer is the season for fresh figs. Fresh or dried, sweet figs are one of the highest fruit sources of fiber, and they also contain significant amounts of the minerals potassium (great for replenishing losses in sweat), calcium, and iron.  

The vibrant color of tender apricots gives away their rich content of beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A).  Beta-carotene and vitamin C both in apricots, act as antioxidants in the body. Sun-sweetened apricots are also a good source of fiber and potassium. Tote a bag of apricots with you to the gym (along with your water bottle, of course) and enjoy them as convenient pre- or post-workout snack. 

Plums and peaches are ripe and ready these balmy months. Luscious peaches and plums have beta-carotene and vitamin C as well as fiber. The skins of purple and red plums contain anthocyanidins, which are potent antioxidants. 

The berry family is in season and bursting with flavor.  Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, huckleberriesand more- these are high in fiber and vitamin C.  The deep red and purple color of the berries also indicates the presence of the anthocyanadins. Cherries are another summer ripe fruit that contain these wholesome nutrients as well. 

The tropical mangoes and papayas are irresistibly mouthwatering summer fruits. Succulent mangoes are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. In fact, just half a mango has over 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A (as beta-carotene). Papaya is another rich source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber, and also contains potassium and folate.  Folate prevents developmental defects in fetuses and helps supports cardiovascular health.

And what would summer be without ice-cold, refreshing watermelon.  All the melons, including cantaloupe, casaba, and honeydew, are summer fruits.  Cantaloupe with its peachy-orange flesh is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C.  The casaba melon contains vitamin C and potassium, and the honeydew is a good source of vitamin C.  Juicy watermelon is a rich source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, and a good source of lycopene- an antioxidant that has been shown to prevent prostate cancer. 

With so many delectable fruits to choose from, there's no reason not to get the minimum five servings a day.  Bring easy to carry fruits with you everywhere: to school, work, gym, baseball game, picnics and parties.  Explore the wide variety of natural flavors at every meal and as refreshing snacks.  So, whether you're exercising or just trying to stay cool, there's nothing quite as tasty and nutritious as beating the heat with the thirst-quenching fruits of summer.  With the abundance of choices this season, every day this summer can be a sweet experience.