Summer Brings a Wealth of Healthy, Tasty Produce
(ARA) - "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Almost everyone has heard that expression at some point in their lives, and it is possible that this rhyme may be one of the earliest dietary advices given (it dates back to the early 1900s). Even back then, people were able to link fruit and vegetable consumption to overall health. However, here are two more recent studies that further strengthen the connection between adopting healthful eating habits and disease prevention.
Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine have discovered that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables in middle age may lead to lower healthcare costs later in life. Investigators found that middle-aged men with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables (at least 42 cups per month) had the lowest total annual Medicare charges ($11,416) later on in life, and the lowest charges specifically related to heart disease.
The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reports that adults who had consumed plenty of fruit when they were children were less likely to suffer from certain types of cancer. A medical study of nearly 4,000 men and women showed that fruit consumption in childhood was inversely associated with cancer in adulthood. The more fruits the adults had eaten when they were young, the less likely they were to suffer from lung, bowel, and breast cancer.
These studies suggest that, no matter when you start eating healthfully, there are benefits to receive. And what better time than summer to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet? No matter where you live, summer is peak season for produce of all kinds. Who can resist fresh, juicy sweet corn just off the farm or a perfectly ripe tomato?
With produce at its best, summer is also a good time to try a type of fruit or vegetable you may not have eaten before. Supermarkets are stocking more and more new and interesting varieties. If you spot something you'd like to try, but aren't sure how to choose or prepare it, visit www.aboutproduce.com.
You can search this handy Web site for information on everything from atemoyas (a fruit with a custardlike pulp that tastes like a blend of mango and vanilla) to yucca (a root that ranges from 6 to 12 inches in length and from 2 to 3 inches in diameter that is used to make tapioca).
The Web site also has recipes to inspire you to try new tastes, or to give you new ideas for ways to use old favorites. You'll also find nutritional information. Here's a quick, easy recipe for a refreshing summer salad -- a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables.
California Summer Salad
1 8-ounce container of nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon honey
1 small head of iceberg lettuce, cut into 8 wedges
8 fresh apricots, halved and pits removed
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 cantaloupe, seeded, sliced and rind removed
1/4 cup shelled and chopped natural pistachios
To make dressing, in bowl whisk yogurt, orange juice concentrate, basil and honey. To assemble salad, on individual serving plates (or on platter) arrange remaining ingredients, dividing equally. Serve dressing on the side. Makes 4 servings.
To learn more about fruits and vegetables, including free recipes and nutrition information, visit www.aboutproduce.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
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