National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month

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June 2013

Natural Standard Celebrates Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Natural Standard celebrates by highlighting the potential health benefits of various fruits and vegetables.

Strawberry: Strawberry (Fragaria spp.) is predominantly known for its bright red, edible fruit covered in small seeds. The fruit is fragrant, and high in fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Some studies indicate that eating strawberries may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Preliminary research also suggests that strawberry may be useful as an anti-inflammatory and may help enhance iron absorption.

Pomegranate: Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is grown around the world and has a long history of use as food and medicine. In the United States, pomegranate juice and seeds are used as food. One pomegranate delivers about 40% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement and is high in antioxidants, which are thought to help reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Spinach: Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a good source of iron, folic acid, vitamin B6, nitrates, oxalates, beta-carotene, and lutein. In addition to its food value, spinach has a number of therapeutic uses. Regular consumption of spinach may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (loss of vision). Low-quality studies investigating the correlation of the intake of carotenoids and vitamins found in spinach noted a significant trend for risk reduction. While this is promising, additional research is necessary before a conclusion can be made.

Cherry: Cherries have been used as both food and medicine. African cherry (Prunus africana) has been used to treat enlarged prostate and other disorders. Cherries contain polyphenols, which may have antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.

Carrot: Carrot (Daucus carota) is a well-known root vegetable. The thick tap root’s color can range from white to orange to red or purple. This change in color represents the nutrients in the carrot because some pigments, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, are also nutrients.

Blueberry: Blueberries have high antioxidant levels due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are the pigments many plants produce to attract the birds and insects necessary for pollination. Lowbush (wild) blueberries have higher levels of certain antioxidant compounds than highbush varieties.

For information on more fruits and vegetables, please visit Natural Standard’s Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.

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References

  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com