Eating seasonally — enjoying fruits and vegetables when they’re at their peak ripeness and freshness, instead of food that’s grown out of season and shipped halfway around the world — is more nutritious and better for the planet. In the past, we’ve shared with you the diverse health benefits of eating seasonal foods, including a stronger immunity and more energy.
As we near the end of summer, it’s one of your last chances to embrace the summer bounty. But get creative and think outside the proverbial salad: The following unique foods are nutrition powerhouses, and we guarantee they’re not your go-to fruits and vegetables that you normally pick up in the grocery store.
If you want to end the summer season with an extra boost of immunity-enhancing vitamins and minerals, and also add some interesting new flavors to your kitchen, these are for you.
Unique, Delicious Seasonal Fruits and Veggies That Everyone Needs to Try
Long a culinary staple in Southeast and South Asia, jackfruit is a giant, textured fruit grown in the tropics that can reach astounding sizes. It’s not uncommon for farmers to gather jackfruit that weigh close to 100 pounds!
Despite its unusual appearance, you can prepare jackfruit like a potato when it’s unripe. But this food’s true magic comes when it has been allowed to ripen, and then it’s cooked. The resulting fruit has a chewy, meaty texture that makes it an excellent vegan standby for ingredients like pulled pork.
Jackfruit is also a powerhouse of nutrients, with more immune system-strengthening vitamins and minerals than more common summer foods. In fact, it beats out staples like bananas, apples and apricots, and is especially high in carotenoids.
You can find fresh jackfruit at most health food stores that carry ethnic produce. You may even find it in some mainstream grocery stores. However, the easiest source of jackfruit is the canned version, which is carried in most grocery outlets. For the best results in most recipes, look for versions that are canned without salted brine.
While traditionally hailing from Mexico and Central America, most grocery stores now carry this delicious seasonal food that’s sourced from domestic and wild cactus plants.
Its taste is very unique, with a firm and crisp texture that has hints of watermelon and kiwi flavors.
Besides being relatively low in sugar and very high in digestion-boosting fiber, WebMD reports that it’s one of the best sources of “antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acid, and betacyanin,” which are “natural substances that protect your cells from damage by free radicals — molecules that can lead to diseases like cancer and premature aging.”
Crisp lettuce and lush spinach are just a few of the many seasonal greens that thrive during the summer. When grown and enjoyed in season, dark green leafy vegetables are even higher in the lifegiving nutrients that make them renowned in the dietary world, including chlorophyll and calcium.
But don’t overlook Mother Nature’s own seasonal garden: that patch of wild dandelions growing in your yard.
“Kale has long been the go-to leafy green for healthy eaters, but research shows that the dandelion plant (taraxacum officinale) may pack equal amounts of nutrients,” explains California State University. “Recent studies showing high levels of polyphenols, phytochemicals, and other biological properties believed to stave off disease make this plant a popular research subject.”
The entire plant is edible, except for its bitter stems:
- Enjoy the flowers dried in a tea, or enjoyed fresh in baked goods
- Eat the greens as salad, or saute it the way you would spinach
- Boil the roots and use it in soups or stews
Thanks to the growing appreciation for the immunity-enhancing, wellness-boosting effects of dandelions, you can buy bundles of fresh dandelions during the summer in many health food stores. Alternatively, pick this wild “weed” yourself:
- Harvest wild dandelions in the morning before they’ve wilted in the hot sun
- Focus on areas that are not exposed to pollution, pesticides, herbicides, and other pollutants (harvesting dandelions in your own yard, where you have control of the environment, is often the best bet)
- Rinse the freshly harvested greens and flowers in cold water to gently clean them
Whichever of these seasonal summer produce ideas you decide to add to your diet this month, pair them with a daily BioPro-Plus 500 supplement routine. Great nutrition goes hand-in-hand with BioPro-Plus 500 to ensure your immune system has everything it needs to respond to various threats in your environment. The fresh produce nourishes your cells, while BioPro-Plus 500 gives your immune system the “training” it requires to effectively identify and destroy invading pathogens, viruses and bacteria.
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