Spring is here! Apricots, Haas avocado, bananas, beets, grapefruit, green beans, honeydew melon, mango and pineapple are all in season. Check out some of our favorite tips and recipes for April produce.
Bananas are fat-free, but contain 2-3 times more carbohydrates that other fruit. Although they may not be the best choice for folks on low carb diets, they are a great choice for active kids and adults. A banana has less water, fifty percent more food energy, four times the protein, half the fat, twice the carbohydrates, almost three times the phosphorus, nearly five times the Vitamin A and iron, at least twice the other vitamins and minerals as an apple. Two important nutrients that bananas offer are vitamin B6 and potassium.
Sometimes referred to as the anti-stress, good mood vitamin, B6 is involved in the transmission of impulses in nerves and muscles and is important in making red blood cells. It is also needed for serotonin production. About 45 percent of people suffering from depression are found to have a low level of serotonin in the brain. Bananas have more Vitamin B6 than any other fresh fruit and are regarded as an excellent source of this vitamin. Eating bananas helps to keep serotonin levels high, which will keep you in good spirits.
Potassium is essential to mental function, brain power and nerve impulses. In fact, according to certain biochemists, new brain cells cannot be made without potassium. Bananas, one of nature’s richest sources of potassium, are also one of the easiest ways to give your body this important mineral that powers your brain and your muscles.
Green beans are low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. They are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A and Folate. These factors and nutrients all help to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and hypertension. Green beans are also a diuretic and may be used to treat diabetes.
Ranking high on the list of nutrient dense fruits, the flesh of a mango is peach-like and juicy with a hint of pineapple flavor. The flavor is pleasant and rich and high in sugars and amino acids. Mangoes are one of the best sources of Vitamin A, and contain beta carotene. They are also a terrific source of Vitamin C!
As an international symbol of welcome, the pineapple is certainly a welcome member of the fruit family for its delicious taste and nutritional benefits. Pineapples are a good source of vitamin C, a commonly known antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage and boosts the immune system. Not only does vitamin C help fend off the colds and infections, but a recent study shows that vitamin C can help reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease too.
Pineapple also contains high levels of an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain is a natural anti-inflammatory, and it can help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, sore throat pain, and reduce postoperative swelling. Additionally, the bromelain in pineapple helps break down the amino acid bonds in proteins, which promotes good digestion. Finally, pineapple is full of manganese, a trace mineral that is in very few foods. Manganese protects against osteoporosis.
Looking beyond their sweet juicy taste, strawberries are loaded with nutrients including powerful, disease- fighting antioxidants and vitamin C. Just eight medium strawberries count as one serving, and this serving contains more vitamin C than an orange. Strawberries are also a good source of iron, folic acid, fiber, and potassium.