It never ceases to amaze me how FREAKING INCREDIBLE fruits and vegetables are! At the end of each of these “What’s in Season” posts, I often wonder why we choose to eat anything but the goodness provided to us by the planet? Fruits and vegetables really are perfectly packaged for optimal nutrition, health and wellbeing.
What’s In Season For December?
Many of the constituents found in cherries work synergistically to demonstrate once again, antioxidant and anti-cancer actions.
In addition, cherries contain many anti-inflammatory compounds, and research suggests they may help to relieve pain from inflammatory osteoarthritis. Cherry intake was also associated with a 35% lower risk of recurrent gout attacks. To top it off, cherries especially tart cherries, contain melatonin; there has been interest in investigating whether cherry juice and/or concentrated cherry products might help with treatment of insomnia, research is still young.
Serve a bowl of fresh cherries alongside your Gluten-Free Gingerbread this Christmas.
Strawberries provide a significant amount of folate, integral for DNA synthesis and repair, sperm vitality, normal foetal development and healthy cholesterol levels.
One serving (1/2 cup) strawberries also contains approximately half of our daily requirement of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a well-known immunity booster, as well as a powerful, fast-working antioxidant.
Strawberries also contain ‘ellagic acid’, of which has been shown to yield anti-cancer properties, suppressing cancer cell growth. Several reports have also demonstrated various cardiovascular and neurologic benefits associated with the consumption of strawberries.
Mango fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids. 100 g of fresh fruit provides 765 mg or 25% of recommended daily levels of vitamin A. Together; these compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Mangoes are also rich in Vitamin C.
Fresh mango is also a good source of potassium; with 100g fruit providing 156mg. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
The main variety of Mango grown in Australia is the Kensington Pride — a large orange mango, usually tinged with a red blush. Look for fruit that is well coloured and heavy for its size with a sweet aroma. Avoid mangoes with soft spots or bruises.
Eggplant’s are high in fibre; fibre bulks up your bowel movements so they pass more easily through the digestive tract, while also stimulating peristaltic motion. Fibre also feeds our healthy gut micro-biome, whilst it has also been linked to a reduction in heart disease and healthy cholesterol management.
Along with the beneficial effects of fibre, eggplants are also great sources of antioxidants, one of the body’s best lines of defence against a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, try my Eggplant Parmigiana recipe here.
As they consumed as a whole, snow peas have relatively high content of dietary fibre. Fibre in your diet helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, obesity, and constipation.
Fresh pods have 150% more amounts of vitamin C than in garden peas. 100 g provide 60 mg or 100% of daily-required levels of vitamin C.
Before eating snow peas, trim the ends and wash thoroughly. Given the whole vegetable would be exposed to pesticide spray, I highly recommend buying organic.
These sweet peas make a delicious addition to any stir-fry or salad. Naturally sweet, I often eat these straight from the source or use them with my favourite homemade dip like that of the organic hummus or guacamole.
Zucchini contains good amounts of potassium that helps reduce blood pressure. It also contains folate that assists in the break down of amino acids like homocysteine that cause heart attacks and strokes.
Zucchini has also been linked to healthy blood sugar regulation. Metabolism of sugar in the body requires B-complex vitamins, and most of these B-complex vitamins (folate, B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline) are found in Zucchini. Also important in blood sugar metabolism are the minerals zinc and magnesium, with all of these nutrients again, provided by summer squash.
If you’re looking for some Zucchini Recipe Inspiration try the following:
Are you inspired to fill your plates with fresh fruits and vegetables now more than ever? I hope so! They’re a lot cheaper than multivitamins and without the side effects 🙂 #foodismedicine