plums
August 2020

Summer Stone Fruits

The Advantage of Seasonal Eating

by gretchen heimsoth

plums*Recipe card at the end of article

Summer is upon us! The time of year that stone fruits make their appearance in the farmers’ markets and local produce purveyors. The family of stone fruits includes cherries, plums, pluots, apricots, nectarines, and peaches. Lesser known in the family are avocados, which are also in supply at the local markets with a wide variety, and mangoes, which sadly for Northern California are not local. Mangoes are delicious and rich in nutrients. But for this feature, I am going to focus on locally grown stone fruit and save avocadoes for another conversation. Stone fruits offer rich flavor and appealing texture. They are equally rich in nutrients and nurturing compounds for the immune system. Glowing skin, sharp eyes, healthy hearts, good guts and metabolism, stone fruits help support all of these. Some can even help aid sleep and reduce muscle pain. With all these benefits and delectable flavor, we can also add community benefit when we shop local and support local growers and business owners. Lowered emissions due to less shipping involved, a fresher product coming directly from the farm to you, Local growers and markets sell what is seasonal. Seasonal produce is more affordable due to less shipping, more nutrient-dense, and in step with seasonal digestive changes. Stone fruits truly sing their song as soon as you take your first juicy bite! Who does not love a luscious summer peach or a deep scarlet cherry? I am a complete fanatic for the many wild hued and equally fierce flavored pluots that appear at the markets this time of year.

Stone fruits are loaded with vitamin C, such as a natural compound, but not underrated. Vitamin C helps build an h3 immune response, which in very lay terms is involved and can help block tumor growth. It helps the body with the methylation processes in DNA. DNA methylation is a biological process that can change DNA, good or bad depending on the direction, again, very lay terms. Vitamin C also bolsters the body against infection. C ties in with glowing skin because it has a key role in collagen production. Studies have shown the potential for vitamin C to protect against UV light damage. The orange-hued varieties especially can nourish your eyesight due to their high carotenoid content, which is the precursor for vitamin A. A precursor is a compound the body needs to manufacture an essential nutrient.

Stone fruits support the heart in multifold ways. The fiber content helps reduce cholesterol levels while the various micronutrients found in these fruits protect against arterial damage. Stone fruits hold anti-inflammatory properties, which can assist in lowering blood pressure. Fiber nurtures the gut by feeding healthy bacteria. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to nurture a healthy microbiome. Fiber helps with regularity, reduces hemorrhoid risk, and can even protect against cancers associated with the digestive system. Stone fruits help protect against other cancers of the body with their varied phytochemical compounds. Cherry juice has been touted to reduce muscle pain and help with gout.

With its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a great post-workout recovery drink. Cherries are also rich in melatonin, which aids in sleep. Cherry juice is safe for anyone who can eat a cherry, so a small glass an hour before bed can help send you to sweet dreamland!

Back to the point of seasonal and local. A win-win for the community by keeping money within it, supporting our friends, families, and neighbors. Friendlier on Mama Earth with a reduction in shipping and emissions. Summer is the warm time of year; our bodies spend more energy on keeping our systems cool. Summer fruits are easy on the digestion and full of the nutrients we need to assist in those processes. Funny, Nature kind of knew what it was doing! With all of the benefits and the knockout range of flavors, try to get to the local markets and pick up some stone fruit to bless you and your loved ones this week!

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