It’s National Nutrition Month! What better way is there to fuel the fun than with fresh fruits and vegetables?
Sometimes it can be tough to know exactly where to start, so I like to break out the ABCs! In this case, that’s asparagus, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe. I promise, you don’t have to mix them together. Instead, with some fun facts and creative recipe ideas, the analysis below has everything you need to engage with some truly tasty fruits and vegetables, whether you’re looking to start fresh with these foods or simply re-introduce them to your plate in a new way.
Asparagus: Did you know that asparagus is a good source of inulin, a prebiotic fiber that may impact gut health? After eating asparagus, your urine may have a foul odor — that’s due to phosphorus compounds! Everyone creates the odor, but not everyone can smell it. Some people have “specific anosmia,” a genetic condition which prevents them from smelling certain odors. Asparagus can be eaten raw, but is more often steamed, roasted or grilled.
Blueberries: Blueberries are readily available all year, but their peak season is summer. Blueberries are high in anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that may prevent cancer. Plus, research suggests that eating blueberries may help ward off heart disease as well as dementia. A cup of blueberries contains only 85 calories and 3.6 grams of dietary fiber. Add blueberries to salads, smoothies or oatmeal, or eat them on their own!
Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K, a nutrient needed for blood clotting. They’re also loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene. Boiling Brussels sprouts for too long waters down the nutrient content… and taste. Brussels sprouts get sweeter when they’re roasted with olive oil and a little salt. Try roasting some with sweet potatoes for a tasty side.
Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe are among the most popular melons in the US. They are also known as musk melons, rock melons, mush melons, or Persian melons. Cantaloupe is an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium and it can be eaten alone or added to smoothies, salads, or salsa.
By Lisa Andrews, MED, RD, LD
PDF Handout: ABCs of Fruits and Vegetables Handout
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.