The seasonal produce landscape is about to get a lot brighter for a bulk of the country. And with that comes the opportunity to get some super-fresh nutrient-dense fruit. Here’s a little help for your shopping list.
When it comes to nutrition, leafy green vegetables take the ounce to ounce, calorie to calorie cake. But fruits have a lot to offer too. Plus, fruit may have a little more versatility. Pink grapefruit has a lot more appeal than a kale salad for breakfast, just like strawberries are the choice for dessert over spinach.
Researchers took a look at some nutrient-dense fruits and veggies to see what delivered the most powerful punch. Specifically, they were looking for those providing meaningful amounts of vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, B6 and B12, vitamins C and K, iron, fiber, and protein. Surprisingly, the top five on the list were all fruits!
Fruits most strongly associated with lowering the risk for chronic disease were:
- Pink and red grapefruit
It might surprise that you that blueberries didn’t make it! They actually came in eighth, placing behind blackberries and white grapefruit. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have real value—the antioxidant and phytonutrients offered in dark berries are a real boost to health. The truth is that when it comes to nutrition, eating a rainbow of food is your best approach.
Selecting ripe and in-season fruit and veggies is the best way to ensure you’re getting maximum nutrition. Studies indicate that antioxidant value is diminished if berries—or all fruits—are consumed prior to ripeness. At the other end of the spectrum, post-ripe fruit is also less nutritious.
There is also research showing that fruit and vegetable nutrition decreases faster once it’s been picked. This is why buying seasonal can give you the best bang for your buck! Aside from having to pay transportation costs, you can get food that was grown in your community and picked fresh!