From the desk of our Parish Nurse ….. Healthy Harvest

Growing season for fresh fruits and vegetables is in full swing and now is the perfect time to celebrate and enjoy the abundance of local fruits and veggies just waiting to be gobbled up! Fruits and vegetables provide a variety of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which are known to help fight harmful free radicals in the body. Older adults need more of certain vitamins and minerals to promote good health and combat health issues associated with aging like osteoporosis, age-related eye conditions, constipation, high blood pressure and many more! <!–split–>

Here are some of the key nutrients and the fruits and veggies that provide a good/great source of them to keep you healthy: (disclaimer – I wouldn’t eat some of these foods. Just sayin’!)

  • Calcium – 1⁄2 cup cooked collard greens, turnip greens, green soybeans (edamame), or spinach, and calcium fortified orange juice.
  • Iron – Lentils, spinach, white beans, lima beans, pinto beans.
  • Vitamin A – Fresh or dried apricots, asparagus, cantaloupe, carrots, celery, collard greens, romaine lettuce, mango, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon.
  • Vitamin C – apricots, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kiwifruit, lemon, lime, honeydew melon, okra, orange, pineapple, potatoes, strawberries, sweet potato, tomatoes, watermelon.
  • Fiber – Apples, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, sweet cherries, kiwifruit, sweet potatoes, tomatoes.
  • Potassium – Lima beans, bananas, broccoli, sweet cherries, kiwifruit, sweet potatoes, tomatoes.
  • Magnesium – Pinto beans, 1⁄2 cup cooked spinach, artichoke hearts, butternut squash, lentils, lima beans, soybeans.

Cleaning Your Produce

Always keep produce separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never use detergent or bleach to wash produce. Instead, rinse produce under running tap water immediately prior to use, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Washing too far in advance removes some of nature’s natural preservatives. However, head lettuce or leafy greens remain crisper when washed right away and then refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fruits and vegetables within 2 hours.

For information on how to store other fruits and vegetables go to FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org

Kara Ade, Parish Nurse