The juicy summer fruits to add to your shopping list today
Summer might be slowly coming to an end but there is still plenty of goodness to be had from the delicious seasonal fruits available. Particularly as this year, the heat seems to be continuing well into autumn.
From watermelon to oranges, and from juicy summer berries through to sweet pineapple, there’s a vast array of colourful, flavoursome summer fruits that are packed with various health benefits.
Plus, these tasty summer fruits are an easy way to contribute to your 5-a-day. They’re also an easy way to help kids get their 5-a-day too. Just one 80g portion counts as one of your 5-a-day, and this can be fresh, frozen or canned. A 150ml portion of fruit juice also counts, however, juice only counts once; if you drank 300ml of fruit juice, it would still only count as one portion.
As well as the abundance of health benefits that these summer fruits provide, there’s also the versatility. Watermelon and grapes work well in salads; mango is ideal in a curry, and bananas are brilliant in smoothies, or as a snack layered with peanut butter.
Enjoy these fruits and reap the many benefits…
The best summer fruits to eat
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite summer fruits. Give these a try…
Watermelon contains vitamin A, a nutrient needed to maintain healthy vision in dim light. Plus, vitamin A helps to keep skin healthy, and it supports our immune system too.
Watermelon also contains a high amount of the antioxidant, lycopene, which has been linked to a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.
Sweet cherries are low in calories, filled with vitamin C and they contain potassium.Potassium has been linked to a reduction in blood pressure, in turn lowering the risk of heart disease. Plus, potassium has also been linked to the prevention of age-related bone loss.
Oh, and not forgetting that cherries (in particular sour cherries) are high in phytochemicals – active compounds found in plants. These are said to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, further protecting our hearts!
This orange-yellow juicy fruit is high in beta-carotene, a type of carotenoid. These give certain fruits and vegetables their bright orange-y hue. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of free radicals. These free radicals come about from exposure to pollution, chemicals, cigarette smoke and even x-rays. Free radicals have been associated with ageing, cancer and even cardiovascular diseases, so it’s worth enjoying plenty of antioxidant-rich foods.
What’s more, cantaloupe contains vitamin C and a high content of water. Not a fan of plain water? High water fruits such as cantaloupe melon can often be a tastier way to stay hydrated.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all sweet, tasty berries that can be enjoyed alone, or in desserts, with yoghurt, on cereals, or blended into smoothies. The possibilities are endless!
Strawberries contain several nutrients, including vitamin C and folate. Folate helps the body form healthy red blood cells, plus, it reduces the risk of birth defects in unborn babies, when eaten by the mother.
Tiny blueberries are renowned for containing several antioxidants. In fact, research has found blueberries to be one of the highest antioxidant-containing fruits available. Research generally does suggest that increasing fruit consumption is a good way to increase your antioxidant intake, which may lead to a reduced risk of cancer. Plus, one study actually discovered how the high polyphenol content of blueberries gives them ‘substantial cardio-protective benefits.
Blackberries are abundant in vitamin C, plus they also contain a healthy dose of fibre. Fibre isn’t just essential for digestive health, but higher fibre intakes have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease too. Vitamin K is another nutrient found in blackberries; this vitamin helps with blood clotting and also the building of bones.
As for beautifully bright raspberries, not only are they a lower sugar fruit, but they also contain plenty of vitamin C, fibre and body-loving antioxidants.
Whether you eat the skin or not, kiwi fruits are a bright green powerhouse, filled with vitamin C, to help protect our immune system and fight off infections.
There have also been studies done on kiwi fruits which have linked them to lower blood pressure as they contain bioactive substances that may lower blood pressure and improve heart function.
Juicy mango doesn’t just taste great alone, it also works well in salads and even curries!
Mango is high in vitamin C and vitamin A, plus it contains plenty of polyphenols; compounds found in plants. One polyphenol found in mangoes is mangiferin, which studies have found to be helpful in combating certain diseases like heart disease and even cancer.
Often enjoyed dried (30g of dried fruit equates to one portion) these juicy stone fruits may be tiny, but they contain plenty of goodness.
As an orange fruit, apricots contain flavonoids, which help with lowering inflammation in the body, as well as fighting free radical damage. Apricots also contain vitamin A and vitamin E. Vitamin E is needed for healthy skin and eyes, plus it helps support our immune system. Vitamin A also protects our immune system and even keeps certain linings of the body healthy, such as the nose.
Enjoy apricots in salads, mixed with Greek yoghurt or even on a cheeseboard. Dried apricots are also great in rice salads.
Another juicy fruit that tastes great added to savoury meals is the humble pineapple.
A cup of pineapple chunks provides a third of your daily recommended vitamin C, plus pineapple contains a healthy dose of fibre, as well as manganese. According to the NHS, the mineral manganese helps make and activate some of the enzymes in the body. These enzymes are important for muscle and nerve function, digesting food and even respiration.
Plums, and their dried counterpart, prunes, contain plenty of goodness. In fact, there’s more than meets the eye to these little fruits.
Prunes contain a healthy dose of fibre; because of this, they’ve been known to have slightly laxative effects. In fact, research has even suggested that prunes are better at easing constipation than psyllium, a type of fibre.
Plums are also high in polyphenols with research even finding that the small, yet mighty plum contains twice as many polyphenol antioxidants as some other fruits!
There’s also studies that have shown how eating plums has been linked to improved brain and bone health.
Plums taste great alone or sliced up and added to a fruit salad. Just be careful of the seed!
Great with cheese, sliced into salads or simply eaten alone, grapes are a sweet, tasty summer fruit to enjoy.
Grapes are packed with plenty of immunity-loving vitamin C, plus red grapes contain resveratrol. This plant compound acts like an antioxidant and has been shown to help protect the heart from disease as well as potentially protecting against brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
A tasty snack, figs are high in vitamin B6 which, according to the NHS, helps the body form haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body. It also helps the body to use and store energy from the food we eat.
Plus, figs, much like prunes, contain fibre, which makes them a useful summer fruit to aid digestion.
Dice figs and throw into rice or salads for a little hint of sweetness, or pair with blue cheese.
A useful addition to smoothies, or just a great fruit to snack on between meals, bananas are known for their potassium and magnesium content.
One study found that bananas are actually as beneficial as sports drinks in that they contain the antioxidants found in sports drinks, as well as potassium, fibre and also vitamin B6.
Bananas can also be enjoyed even when they seem a little over ripe and mushy. Rather than throwing them away, why not whip up a tasty banana bread?
Often mistaken for a vegetable as they taste savoury, cucumbers are low in calories (just 10 cals per 100g). They have a high water count too which can help the body to stay hydrated and can help maintain healthy bowel movements. In fact, a lack of hydration can increase constipation, so it’s wise to drink plenty of fluid and enjoy these water-filled fruits.
Cucumbers taste great in salads or sliced into plain water to make your plain H20 taste a little nicer.
Vitamin C is the real stand out nutrient in these bright yellow sour fruits, which could help protect against coronary heart disease, according to research.
Plus, as a citrus fruit, lemons contain citrus flavonoids such as hesperidin and naringin. Why are these so special? Well, research points to them potentially helping to protect against heart disease and some types of cancer.
Try adding lemon slices to water, and squeezing lemon into salads for a fresh, zesty dressing!
A delicious citrus fruit that needs no introduction!
Low in calories, this bright orange fruit- much like lemons – is filled with citrus flavonoids, making them an antioxidant powerhouse. Hesperidin and naringenin are the two key flavonoids here. Hesperidin has been shown to help lower blood pressure, whilst naringenin has been shown to help lower inflammation and potentially even help with weight management.
There’s also the carotenoid antioxidants in oranges. Plus, vitamin C, which research has linked to a lower cause of death from all causes. Pretty impressive!
A fruit that comes in several forms; from coconut shavings, to desiccated coconut, this hard shelled, tropical fruit provides food and drink in one.
Coconuts are high in fat, so it’s wise to watch your portions when enjoying the fleshy meat found inside the hard shell. Coconuts do also contain some protein. Protein is essential for maintaining the health of our muscles, and to help our body grow and repair properly. And, not forgetting the generous helping of fibre that’s packed into coconuts. Fibre is helpful for digestion as well as helping to control blood sugar levels.