Happy 4th of July, and Why Should You Eat Summer Fruit?

    In summertime when weather is warm, and the sun is shinning it brings feelings of joy, laughter, and playfulness, during outdoor activities like swimming, beach going, sunbathing, camping, picnics, snoozing on the hammock, and spending the cooler evenings under the stars with friends.

    If these are memories of the past perhaps this Independence Day you can still evoke the feelings of freedom, patriotism, and pride by continuing your favorite family or neighborhood traditional foods and meals. Have conversations with your loved ones counting all of your blessings and memories over a bowl of fresh watermelon, blueberries, or strawberries. In the evening while watching fireworks wherever you can, let the tangy sweetness of raspberries tingle your mouth and heart.

    For me, I remember the 4th of July in my neighborhood as a child with water balloon fights, BBQ, music, and fireworks. We had snakes, twirler's, and Roman candles.

    The food I remember most is fresh corn-on-the-cob from our local farmer, watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, and homemade strawberry or banana ice cream.

    While we can no longer have fireworks in our neighborhood streets we can still enjoy watching from afar, or on T.V.

    All of the activities of the summer and 4th of July can make you feel hot, sweaty, and thirsty. Eating fresh summer fruit is refreshing, and one of the best ways to cool you off.

    Overall fruit is easily digested and assimilated. It is alkalizing meaning it counteracts concentrated acidic and rich foods like meats, dairy, and grains.

    If you're feeling hot, stressed out with too much mental anguish fruit can be rejuvenating. Fruit is a natural laxative stimulating the liver and pancreas.

    Some sour fruits like blackberries, sour plum, and pineapple can have the opposite effect relieving diarrhea.

    Everything must be eaten in moderation including fruit. Too much fruit can weaken you causing yeast overgrowth and dampness because of its moistening effect. Children who drink apple juice, or other juices all day long may suffer from diarrhea, irritability, and cavities.

    When fruits are juiced the properties become concentrated enhancing the sugar absorption and cooling, cleansing effects. Drink fruit juice sparingly and drink 4-6 oz. the size of a small juice glass.

    That is why eating the whole flesh of the fruit is best for digesting the fiber allowing slower digestion, metabolism and release of sugars into the blood stream .Some fruits you can eat the seeds like watermelon, papaya, kiwi, and other melons. Some fruits you can eat the peel like apples, pears, and berries.

    For individuals who are weak, cold, and have diarrhea should eat raw fruit carefully. They would do best on cooked or dried fruits because they have more warming properties.

    Let's take a look at 12 of my favorite summertime fruits' healthful benefits.*This list is not exhaustive of summer fruit in season from June through August.

  1. Apricots: Neutral temperature, sweet and sour. Apricots moisten the lungs and increase fluids. Useful for dry throats, thirst, asthma, and anemia. Avoid with diarrhea, and eat cautiously during pregnancy.
  2. Blackberries: High in phenolic acids, which are antioxidant compounds. They are beneficial for lung inflammation, pleurisy, thrombosis, cancer, endotoxin shock, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia and age-related cognitive decline.
  3. Blueberries: Very high in antioxidants that counteract oxidative stress and free-radicals. They are also rich in pectin, a soluble fiber found to lower cholesterol. Also, helpful for diabetes by slowing absorption of sugars.
  4. Cantaloupe: Very high in vitamins C and A. Thus, it is very good for eyesight, and cataract prevention. Because of the vitamin C it is good for immunity.
  5. Cherries: High in a type of antioxidant, anthocyanins that are used by the body as natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory helping the body eliminate excess acids. They help with gout, arthritis, and numbness from rheumatism. Also, they are used by the body to make essential amino acids. Anthocyanins protect your body's cells from aging affects of nitrogen, ultraviolet radiation, and oxygen. Cherries protect muscle damage from over use and strain making them a great pre and post-workout snack. Cherries are also provide natural melatonin, which helps regulate sleep cycles, and the immune system.
  6. Nectarines: A good source of vitamin A, potassium, and soluble fiber, which help with digestion, and cancer prevention. Other nutrients include lycopene, lutein, that help support cardiovascular health, macular degeneration, and cancer.
  7. Peaches: They contain calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, and B3.They are great for the complexion and skin. Eating peaches helps remove parasites and worms from the intestinal tract..
  8. Pineapple: Full of enzymes, bromelain, vitamin C and trace minerals it has been shown to be beneficial for goiters, blood pressure regulation, arthritis, intestinal worms, constipation, and throat infections. The anti-inflammatory actions of bromelain helps to reduce swelling, sinusitis, gout and arthritis. Some recipes may call for the use of the stem only, or the flesh. It should be eaten fresh as the canned varieties are devoid of enzymes.
  9. Plum: Rich in flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin. They are also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium beneficial for eyesight.
  10. Raspberries: Full of manganese, and vitamin C, vitamin B2, B3, folate, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Because of the fiber and manganese raspberries help your body burn fat, and slow the digestive process helping you to feel full longer, and little impact on blood sugar levels. They help prevent cell proliferation and tumor formation in the colon.
  11. Strawberries: A great source of Vitamin C, B1, B5, folate, biotin, manganese, iodine, fiber, vitamin K, and flavonoids. They help reduce eye pressure, promoting good eyesight. They are also beneficial for arthritis, gout, cancer, high blood pressure, and brain function.
  12. Watermelon: It is one of the most refreshing, thirst quenching, alkalizing foods. It is loaded with vitamins A, C, B1, B6, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals. Because of the high water content, and electrolytes sodium, and potassium, it is great to eat after a workout, strenuous activity or time in the sun. It has an amino acid called citrulline that the body uses to make , another amino acid, arginine, necessary to metabolize urea and excrete ammonia from the body. It also protects against macular degeneration.

So, enjoy some of your favorite summertime fruit on your 4th of July menu. Eat as a light snack or dessert.

Happy Independence Day!

Dr. Michele Arnold-Pirtle from www.wellwithdrmichele.com