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Health Department Notes

Improve your health while enjoying summer fruits and veggies

Summer is a great time to enjoy everything the season has to offer, including an abundance of fresh, tasty produce at its peak.

As part of a nutritious, seasonal dinner, try cutting up and grilling fresh peppers, sweet onions, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and more. For dessert, follow up with a fresh fruit salad of melon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, cherries, and other fruits. The vibrant colors will liven up your meal, and the appealing flavors and aromas will tantalize your taste buds.

Why fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that are important for good health.

Compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps heart disease and high blood pressure.

Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, so substituting them for high-calorie foods can be a calorie-reducing strategy.

A plate that includes colorful vegetables is not just appealing to the eye. A wide variety of produce also provides your body with a number of health promoting benefits, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. It's important to eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits every day.

The following are examples of some of the seasonal vegetables and fruits you are likely to find in local markets during the summer months. Fresh in-season vegetables include green beans, tomatoes, radishes, zucchini, peppers, corn, cucumbers, spinach, sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes, eggplant, garlic, okra, squash, black-eyed peas and lettuce. Fresh in-season fruits include blueberries, strawberries, cherries, melons, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, pineapple, red grapes, raspberries, Valencia oranges, apples, watermelon, papaya, kiwi, mango and figs.

Go ahead and enjoy summer meals by including delicious produce at every opportunity! You can start healthy eating habits to follow year-round.

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