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August 12th, 2020

The Best Summer Fruits and How to Pick Them

 

Ah, Summer. The temperature heats up, the days seem endless, and the activities are plentiful – everything from biking to kayaking, swimming to tennis. While these activities are fun, they can often leave you feeling a bit zapped of energy. With the freshest of fresh fruit abundant (and naturally full of fiber), what better way is there to refuel after a day of fun in the sun?

Fruit, especially the ones sweetest in the summertime, gives you the energy and nutrients the body needs, helps to keep you cool & hydrated, and can aid in sun protection. As if those benefits weren’t enough, fruits are a naturally sweet treat (no added sugar needed!) and are perfect for adding fiber & flavor to smoothies, salads, and desserts. Helllooooo superfood!

While most fruits are available year-round, it’s best to eat fruits when they are in season. Why, you ask? Fruits in season are usually fresher, tastier, and more nutrient-dense. Rather than being picked early, seasonal fruits can ripen naturally, meaning they have more exposure to the sun, and in turn have higher levels of antioxidants. Plus, in-season fruits are usually at their best price – so both you and your wallet can stay lean 😊.

Here are 3 all-star fan-favorite summertime fruits, the secrets to what makes them power-houses, and how to pick them at peak ripeness.  

WATERMELON

With its gorgeous red hue and refreshing juicy taste, watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit. Family BBQs and summer hangouts aren’t complete without this delicious fruit, which has become an iconic part of the perfect cookout. While it isn’t the most fiber-rich fruit (only 1g), we recommend making a fruit salad with watermelon, berries, and kiwi to get an added fiber boost!

What Makes them Special
Watermelon, as the name implies, is mostly made up of water (92%!) However, it’s so much more than that. This fruit is stocked full of vitamins like Vitamin A (important for eye health and boost immunity) and Vitamin C (strengthens the immune system). It also is a great source of lycopene, which is a powerhouse antioxidant that can help protect your skin against the sun (which we all need in the summer).
How to Pick ‘Em
Now, there’s nothing worse than getting all excited about a crisp slice of watermelon, only to cut into the fruit and find it mealy and flavorless. To select the perfect one…

  • Look for a circular, not oval-shaped watermelon.
  • Pick up the watermelon and make sure it feels heavy.
  • Knock on the watermelon and see if anyone’s home (no just kidding!) – if you hear a deep hollow sound that means it’s fully ripened and ready to eat.
  • Look for a creamy yellow spot on the bottom of the watermelon – this shows it has sat on the ground for a while to ripen.

MANGO

This tropical delicacy is sometimes known as the “King of Fruits” – in fact, in India, mangos are sacred and are a sign of love! (so be careful who you share one with 😉 ). Outside of their gorgeous coloring and sweet candy-like taste, mangoes are actually relatively low on the glycemic index, so moderate quantities helps support healthy blood sugar levels. A mango has 5g of fiber, so it’s the perfect partner to make a tropical 20/20 smoothie with!

What Makes them Special
Mangos are more than just a sweet treat- they contain more than 20 vitamins and minerals* and a ton of fiber (yay!), which we know helps to keep you full for hours. Additionally, they are an excellent source of Vitamin A and C and contain antioxidants that helps protect eye health and filter out harmful blue light rays.
How to Pick ‘Em
  • Pick up the mango and give it a light squeeze – if it’s ripe, it will give a little like a peach.
  • Smell the mango at the stem (and try to avoid weird stares in the grocery store). Ripe mangos tend to have a sweet fruity aroma.

STRAWBERRIES

Berries of any sort are an F-Factor favorite. However, a strawberry’s sweet taste plus the fact that they’re loaded with fiber makes them the super fruit of the summer in our (F-Factor Diet) book. There is truly nothing like fresh, ripe summertime strawberries.  Funny enough, strawberries technically aren’t a fruit or a berry, since there are over 200 seeds per strawberry on the outside!

What Makes them Special
Strawberries have been used throughout history for everything from teeth whitening, to skin irritations and digestive issues! But – we love them mostly because they’re one of the top 50 foods containing the most antioxidants per serving! Additionally, they also have high amounts of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber (6g per cup!)
How to Pick ‘Em
  • Chose shiny, firm, plump looking strawberries with a bright red color. This means they’re at their peak of ripeness.
  • Avoid shriveled, mushy, or leaky berries…major ick!

At the end of the (hot summer) day, whether you’re eating these fruits a la carte, in a smoothie, or in a cocktail, you’ll be getting tons of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber! Now is the time to enjoy these specific fruits while they’re in season – so run, don’t walk, to the store, and stock up on F-Factor’s favorite fruits for summer!