apricots

The healthiest fruits this season are easily accessible and nothing you’d complain about eating – they are simply delicious! Often, with the convenience of being able to access any kind of fruit or vegetable year-round, we forget what it means to purchase seasonal ingredients. This summer, keep tabs on what’s in season, as doing so brings you that much closer to the food you eat and the health you seek. Here are 6 of the healthiest fruits this season and the reasons you should be eating them.

1. Apricots

One cup of apricot halves bears 75 calories, 401 milligrams of potassium, 3.1 grams of dietary fiber, 2.2 grams of protein, 59% of the RDA of vitamin A, 25% of the RDA of vitamin C as well as a good amount of calcium, iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.

The apricot may be a small fruit, but it sure packs a healthy punch. Rich in vitamin A, apricots promote healthy vision, proper immune system function, reproduction and healthy skin, teeth and skeletal and soft tissue. Vitamin A is also credited for playing a role in cancer and eye disorder prevention. Potassium is also a prominent player in apricots. The mineral balances electrolytes in the body and assists muscle and heartbeat function. Potassium also plays a role in supporting strong bones and normal blood pressure levels. Apricots are also fiber-rich and thus great in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and keeping weight in check.

2. Blackberries

One cup of blackberries contains 62 calories, 8 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of protein, 50% of the RDA of vitamin C and a good amount of potassium, vitamin A, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Blackberries are full of dietary fiber, which is crucial in the health of the digestive tract. They also contain a hefty amount of vitamin C, which is necessary for growth and development, such as of the skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels, as well as for repair and maintenance, such as for cartilage, bones and teeth. Vitamin C is also known to prevent cancer, heart disease and arthritis. A study has shown that blackberries also improve motor and cognitive function!

3. Cantaloupe

One cup diced cantaloupe has 52 calories, 417 milligrams of potassium, 1.4 grams of dietary fiber, 1.3 grams of protein, 105% of the RDA of vitamin A, 95% of the RDA of vitamin C and a good amount of iron, vitamin C-6, magnesium and calcium.

Cantaloupe contains the water-soluble B-vitamin folate, which is important in the maintenance and growth of cells in the body as well as in the prevention of anemia. Folate is also crucial for brain and nerve health. Cantaloupe is also rich in carotenoids, which can decrease the risk for cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are helpful in improving vision.

4. Cherries

One cup of cherries yields 51 calories, 26% of the RDA of vitamin A, 17% of the RDA of vitamin C and calcium, iron and magnesium.

Fruits like cherries, with the entirety of the flesh closer to the seed, are generally of the most nutritionally dense fruits out there. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, quercetin, hydroxycinnamates, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids and melatonin. These compounds work together to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation and Alzheimer’s.

5. Figs

One hundred grams of fresh figs hold 74 calories, 232 milligrams of potassium, 2.9 grams of dietary fiber, and a good amount of vitamin A, calcium, vitamin C, iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.

Figs are my personal favorite fruit, both when dried and fresh. It’s hard to find a fresh fig that is just right and ready to eat. I find that a lot of the fresh figs I encounter at the grocery store are too ripe or not ripe enough. They are certainly sensitive, so difficult to transport safely and effectively. However, if you have access to figs that fit the freshness bill, please indulge in them! If not, opt for dried figs, but try to limit yourself to five dried figs at a time, as they contain a lot of natural sugars when dried.

Figs are essentially in a healthy digestion system, due to their dietary fiber content. They contain pre-biotics, which promote good bacteria in the gut. Figs are also hefty enough to give you a sense of fullness without weighing you down. Their calcium content also means you support bone density with each bite. I personally love tossing them into a salad for extra texture and taste.

6. Peaches

One cup of peach slices has 61 calories, 2.3 grams of dietary fiber, nearly 300 milligrams of potassium, 1.4 grams of protein, 10% of the RDA of vitamin A, 17% of the RDA of vitamin C and a good amount of iron and magnesium.

Like the other fruits on this list, peaches, too, are rich in antioxidants. They contain chlorogenic acid, which is largely concentrated in the skin and protects the body from inflammation, cancer, obesity and aging. In China, peach tea is used as a detoxifying agent, cleansing the body of toxins and helping you to put your best face forward. Peaches also contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, a compound necessary for healthy skin and eyes.

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Photo Credit: Juan Antonio Capó Alonso