3 reasons to eat more fruit in the summer

Fruit provides important health benefits, and people who eat more fruit as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body. Here are 3 reasons to eat more fruit this summer.

1. Fruit is rich in nutrients.

Fruit is famous for its vitamin C, but you can also expect a decent dose of carotenoids (watermelon), folate (mango), potassium (bananas), and ­fiber (raspberries) – to name a few. Some even supply some vitamin K (kiwi), calcium (kumquats), iron (dried peaches), or magnesium (blackberries), to name a few.

Fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids. In one study, women who ate three or more servings per week of strawberries and blueberries — which are both known for their high anthocyanin content — had a lower risk of having a heart attack than those with lower intake.

2. Fruit is convenient.

Eating fruit requires little to no prep. Simply wash, peel or cut into slices! Fruit is portable, and typically needs no refrigeration, making it the perfect snack to beat the summer heat.

There are many foods high in water content and can help you maintain good hydration in the summer. Cucumbers contain 95 percent water and are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. Celery, iceberg lettuce, zucchini, watermelon strawberries and cauliflower are also more than 92 percent water content.

3. Fruit can be cheap.

Fresh fruit can be inexpensive when purchased in season. In summer months, look for peak-season sweet blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Melons, cherries and other stone fruits like peaches are also a summer staples.

Additionally, WIC provides $35 for fruits and vegetables during the summer months (June, July, August and September benefit periods).

Bureau County Health Department: 526 Bureau Valley Pkwy., Princeton, IL, 61356 815-872-5091, www.bchealthdepartment.org.