Dr. Kantor recently discussed the health benefits of island-themed summer produce that you can find at your local farmer’s market with Chile Pepper Magazine. He listed these fruits and veggies by region and also gave tips for preparing and cooking these summertime treats!
Health Benefits: Cucumbers are now known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol—three lignans that have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several cancer types, including breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Cucumbers are a valuable source of antioxidant nutrients including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. In addition, cucumbers contain numerous flavonoid antioxidants, including quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): cucumbers can be used as a healthy alternative to chips, dip in fresh guacamole or hummus. Cucumbers are also great for salads, you can chop them up whole or peel and seed them if you prefer a lighter version.
Health Benefits: Pineapples contain Bromelain, a complex mixture of substances that can be extracted from the stem and core fruit of the pineapple. Bromelain is known to help proper digestion and possible cancer protection. The high vitamin C, E, and A content of pineapples also help boost the immune system, and vision health.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): Pineapples can be made into fresh salsa to eat with corn chips or top a chicken burrito. They can be thrown into a smoothie with mangos, coconut milk and Greek yogurt for a “on the go” breakfast or snack option.
Health Benefits: In addition to featuring a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity. The skin of eggplant contains, Nasunin, which has been shown to protect the brain.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): Eggplant is favored by those who are on a plant based diet, eggplant typically takes place of meat in most of its dishes. The most common eggplant dish is the Italian eggplant parmesan, but eggplant can also be roasted in the oven or even smoked on the grill. Eggplant can be eaten on a sandwich, in pasta or in curry dishes.
Health Benefits: Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. These compounds include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as abundant enzymes. The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): Mangos are versatile, they can be made into a salsa, to top on grilled fish or chicken, and they can also be thrown into smoothies or simply sliced and eaten as a snack.
Health Benefits: Peppers are not only an excellent source of carotenoids, but also a great source of over 30 different members of the carotenoid nutrient family. These nutrients are known for protecting the cardiovascular system and blood sugar regulation. They are also a rich source of vitamin C and A, which naturally boost the immune system.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): Peppers are found in many dishes. If you want more heat to the dish keeps the seeds in, if you prefer a mild version of what you are making remove the seeds. Roasted stuffed peppers are a great option to get the most flavor out of the pepper. Hot peppers can be added to guacamole, salsa, and fresh tossed salads to spice them up a notch.
Health Benefits: Coconut can be consumed in its raw form, as coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut water. Coconut is rich in healthy fats that have been shown to help your brain function at its best and it also aids in weight loss and hormone regulation for both blood sugar and thyroid management. Coconuts are also a rich source of potassium.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): Coconut water is a great alternative to conventional sports drinks due to its high potassium content, and it has no dye, sugar syrups, or excessive sodium. Coconut oil can be used instead of butter in baking recipes, the oil can also be thrown into oatmeal for a creamy flavor. Coconut milk (the unsweetened most pure form) is a great alternative to those who cannot tolerate dairy and it taste great in smoothies.
Health Benefits: are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): Papayas can be thrown into a cold salad with avocado and fresh lime, or frozen papaya can be made into a creamy sorbet, and of course papaya can be thrown into a Thai pasta dish for added flavor.
Health Benefits: Limes are a great source of vitamin C, which boost the immune system and also has been shown to protect against Rheumatoid Arthritis. They are one of the most alkaline fruits on the pH balance chart, the alkaline diet is most recommended for those preventing or going through cancer remission and treatment. Both Lemons and Limes have anti-cancer nutrients called flavonoids,which have been shown to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. They are perhaps most interesting for their antibiotic effects.
Kitchen Tip: (prepping, cooking, etc., tips): Fresh limes and their juice are a great addition to many dishes including rice, fish, and chicken recipes. Sprinkle the juice of a lime over grilled chicken skewers, or grill fish with lime slices on top. Lime juice can also be added to smoothies, and plain water for extra flavor.
This is a preview to an article that will be featured in Chile Pepper Magazine.
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