Warm weather brings summery treasures and seasonal stone fruits are at the top of the list.
Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and cherries are now in season, which is great news for your health. Rich in vitamins A, C and E, as well as dietary fibre, potassium and antioxidants, these vibrant fruits pack a potent nutritional punch. Add them to your smoothies, salads and desserts or just savor them on their own – the fresh, juicy flavours are the ultimate tastes of summer.
Here’s how these juicy fruits can benefit your health…
1. Boost your immunity. Antioxidants such as vitamin C are found in rich supply in stone fruits, helping you to build a strong immune system and reduce the impact and duration of summer colds. This wonder-vitamin ups the production of white blood cells, which fight infections, and helps to prevent the entry of viruses.
2. Create collagen. Vitamin C also plays a key role in the production of collagen, which helps keep your skin healthy, strong and supple. One cup of sliced plums or apricots contains around a quarter of your daily vitamin C needs. Hello bouncy, youthful skin!
3. Promote healthy nerves and muscles. Potassium is essential for keeping your nerves and muscles in good condition – a deficiency can cause fatigue, irritability and increased blood pressure. Bananas are the most common go-to fruit for a potassium fix, but stone fruits are also a great source. Two small peaches have the same amount of potassium as a medium banana.
4. Fight diabetes and obesity. Recent research has found that nectarines, plums and peaches contain a unique mixture of compounds that may help fight metabolic syndrome, where obesity and inflammation lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease,
5. Improve eyesight. The vibrant orange colour of apricots, peaches and nectarines comes from their rich supply of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant that can help strengthen your eyesight, skin membranes and immune function. These miracle pigments are even more available to the body when the fruit is cooked, so try poached peaches or baked apricots for a healthy dessert.
6. Encourage healthy digestion. Stone fruits are an excellent source of fibre, which helps your body to digest your food efficiently and smoothly, keeping you feeling full for longer. Fibre has also been shown to benefit diabetes, blood cholesterol levels and weight management.
7. Strengthen bones and teeth. Vitamin K is often overlooked – but this nutrient plays a vital role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, helping you to reduce your risk of tooth decay and conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Plums are your top choice for vitamin K – two of these plump purple fruits give you about one 10th of your daily vitamin K needs.
For recipes and tips visit the Aussie Summer Stonefruit Facebook page.