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More on Nutritionists Share Their Favorite Summer Fruits and Vegetables

Nutritionists Share Their Favorite Summer Fruits and Vegetables

New York (Sep 1, 2011)

(This is part two of a two-part series. Part one is available here.)

Good Ripe Red Tomatoes, Salsa, and Mangos

From Peggy Cosgrove, R.D., C.D.N. -

My favorite vegetable is the tomato. When I say tomatoes, I mean good ripe red tomatoes from Arkansas like the kind my grandpa grows. Right before summer hits when tomatoes are still green you can make fried green tomatoes by just slicing them up and battering them in cornmeal and flour with a little salt and pepper, that is of course after leaving them in a bath of buttermilk for a night. Once they are ripe, tomatoes are perfect for fresh salsa! To make salsa, you can add tomatoes and everything else in the garden to a big bowl. One kind of salsa that I like to make includes two diced juicy tomatoes, half a hot pepper, half a diced purple onion, and a can each of black beans and corn. Mix these ingredients in with 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of oil, cilantro to taste, and a splash of lime juice. It's the perfect summer snack for everyone! Plus the tomatoes provide fluid and fiber as well as vitamins C, A, and K. In addition, tomatoes contain potassium to help you stay hydrated and the antioxidant lycopene.

My favorite summer fruit is mango, which is not exactly something I grew up with in Arkansas but definitely something that I dice up and add to my salsa. Plus, mango adds more vitamin A and C, additional fiber, and vitamin B6. Eat this mango salsa outside for some added vitamin D with whole grain tortilla chips and you're getting a nice dose of every vitamin you need!

Peggy Cosgrove, R.D., C.D.N., is a Clinical Dietician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester.

Strawberries for Immunity and Swiss Chard for Good Skin

From Nancy Addison, M.P.H., R.D., C.S.G., C.D.N. -

My favorite summer fruit is strawberries. They are high in potassium and are one of the best sources of vitamin C, which is helpful in promoting immunity and aiding in the absorption of iron from the diet. Strawberries also contain phytonutrients that may offer heart healthy and cancer protective benefits. The best time to buy strawberries is mid-May through June. Strawberries can be eaten fresh, added to a parfait with yogurt, or even tossed into a salad.

My favorite summer vegetable is Swiss chard. This vegetable is a good source of vitamin A, which is helpful in promoting skin renewal and repair. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K, which support bone health. Both strawberries and Swiss chard are high in dietary fiber, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Swiss chard can be added to soups or simmered in a pan together with vegetable or chicken stock and then tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Our skin is a fingerprint of what is going on inside our bodies. That is why it is so important to feed our skin from the inside out with these nutrient-rich fresh fruits and vegetables!

Nancy Addison, M.P.H., R.D., C.S.G., C.D.N., is a Clinical Nutritionist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Watermelon to Keep Hydrated, Corn to Feel Full

From Nicole Brender, R.D. -

My favorite summer fruit is watermelon. What's great about watermelon is that it is refreshing and helps keep you hydrated on hot days because it contains about 90% water. This high water content is why watermelon is so low in calories with less than 50 calories per cup. Watermelon is high in vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin A and the B vitamins. I like to eat watermelon freshly cut by itself or added to non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt. Watermelon is often thought of as sweet, but a creative way to eat watermelon is in a savory salad tossed with cucumbers, red onion, and low fat Feta cheese.

My favorite summer vegetable is corn. One of corn's main attributes is fiber, which helps us feel full and regulates our bowels. Because corn is high in starch, it has more calories than other vegetables. So, if you have to watch your overall calorie and/or carbohydrate intake, eat corn in moderation. I like to eat corn straight off of the cob after grilling or boiling it. Corn is one of those foods that, when bought in season, is so good and sweet on its own it doesn't need anything, like butter or salt added to it. Another favorite of mine is corn salad or corn salsa. Remove corn from the ears and toss it together with fresh or roasted vegetables of your choice – I like tomatoes and peppers – and add in some balsamic vinaigrette. For an extra kick, try adding in some jalepeño peppers. And, just as a shopping tip, if you can't find any fresh corn, frozen corn is preferable over canned corn, which can be high in sodium.

Nicole Brender, R.D., is a Clinical Nutritionist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

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