The end of August signals to many Chicago employees that summer is almost over, but there is still time to enjoy August’s best tasting and healthy fruits and vegetables. Summer, in general, is a great time to slow down, relax and enjoy the warm weather. And delicious food is usually not far behind. Whether it’s grilling out or picking fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden or local farm, healthy options are abundant.
Before the busy fall season begins, it is important to bring back or develop new, healthy habits, and that includes eating enough fruits and vegetables. According to nutritionists at ChooseMyPlate.gov, adult women should consume between 2 and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day and between 1.5 and 2 cups of fruit per day. Men should consume between 2.5 and 3 cups of vegetables per day and about 2 cups of fruit per day.
To meet those guidelines consider adding any of the following eight healthy, late-summer fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Tomatoes: Big, red and juicy often describes ripe tomatoes in the summer. Full of water but low in carbs, tomatoes are known for their beta-carotene or vitamin A and vitamin C. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A and combats the effects of free radicals, improves cognitive function and may protect against common eye diseases.
Bell Peppers: The summer harvest of bell peppers offers a variety of different tastes from the most bitter, green bell peppers to the sweetest, red bell peppers. High in water and fiber but low in calories, bell peppers offer a variety of health benefits from a boost in immunity to improved eye health and heart health to a decreased risk of anemia.
Tomatillos: Although tomatillos may appear to be small green tomatoes, they are closely related to South American Cape gooseberries and are full of healthy boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Among its many benefits, tomatillos can reduce the chance of diabetes, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of some cancers.
Summer Squash: Two of the most well-known summer squash are zucchini and yellow squash. Low in carbs but high in water, they are a great source of Vitamin A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus and potassium. These nutritional workhorses protect against heart and common eye diseases as well as boost immunity and bone strength.
Grapes: While grapes contain important nutrients for bone health and protect against certain bacteria, viruses and yeast infections, the skin of red grapes contain high amounts of anthocyanins, an antioxidant. Anthocyanins protect heart health, improve blood flow to brain, lower blood pressure and protect against damage caused by free radicals.
Peaches: Another delicious summer fruit, peaches provide good amounts of fiber as well as Vitamin A, C and numerous minerals. A variety of antioxidants protect against cancerous cells, help prevent chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, and boost the immune system.
Nectarines: Like peaches – high in fiber, low in calories and without the fuzz, nectarines also help improve digestive health and resist obesity-related diabetes and heart disease. Nectarines also offer numerous B vitamins which are important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat and in the formation of red blood cells.
Cantaloupe: Offering more beta carotene than apricots, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, tangerines, nectarines and mangoes with same amount of vitamin C as a small orange, cantaloupes help fight free radicals in the body as well as support hydration, eye health, the production of red blood cells and the immune system.
Supporting employee consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables while at work helps support Chicago employers too. Healthy employees are more creative and productive and have fewer sick days. Whether it’s hunger or thirst, employees will be able to stay on-site when they need something to eat or drink.
Mark Vend would like to work with your organization to customize a refreshment menu that delivers a variety of options and draws employees to the break room. Add an extra benefit by offering office refreshments at a reduced or zero cost and increase the appeal. For more information or to schedule a tasting appointment, please call Mark Vend at (847) 291-9216.