Eating seasonal fruit is one of life’s great joys, and it’s good for your body too.
Seasonal fruit is also a great reward for employees because it boosts their health and morale all year long. On top of being delicious, and a source of natural fiber and sugars, all fruits have something called antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical compounds your body uses to defend itself from potentially harmful ‘free radicals’—which are molecules that can cause damage within and across individual cells.
There is research linking free radicals to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases so eating food that bolsters your body’s defenses is smart eating. Our white paper, The ROI of FruitGuys Fruit, explains more on the benefits seasonal fruit has on the health, morale, and retention of employees.
All Fruits are Superfoods
The FruitGuys Magazine spoke to Abby Greenspun, a registered dietician (RD) and private practitioner in Westport, Connecticut, to ask her some of the reasons why we should eat more fruit. “Every few months or so a new vegetable or fruit comes out as ‘the new superfood,’” she said, referring to studies that highlight the benefits of different foods. “but they’re all superfoods! Every single one is a superfood.”
Maintaining a balanced diet—and making sure to eat at least three servings a day of fruit (one cup of cut-up fruit is a good rule of thumb for a single serving)—is important to maintaining a healthy body. Ultimately, you should be eating fruit whenever you get the chance, especially during your workday.
“Eating seasonally is important,” says Greenspun. “In the summer I recommend blueberries and strawberries, but in the fall, eat apples and pears. In winter, eat citrus fruits in general… in spring, you want things like mangos, kiwis, and pineapples.”
Best Fruit to Eat in Summer
While every berry is in season during summer, let’s talk about blueberries! These bite-sized sweet treats are loaded with vitamins C & K, magnesium, and fiber. Antioxidant anthocyanins, which this berry its deep blue color, may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-viral properties. There’s also evidence that eating blueberries can help you maintain a healthy weight. For more on the nutritional value of blueberries and fun recipes to try, watch 3 Ways Blueberries Boost Work Performance.
Nothing conjures up memories of summer like biting into a juicy fragrant peach. Peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots, plums and their hybrids, pluots, apriums, and plumcots are called “stone fruit” because of the hard pit (or “stone”) in their center. What they all have in common besides their pits is edible skin and delicious flesh that is great to eat out of hand or make into jam. While cherries and plums are best when firm, peaches, nectarines, and apricots are ripe when they give to gentle pressure.
Best Fruit to Eat in Fall
An apple a day keeps the doctor away is more than just a saying. According to Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health, apples have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, promote weight control, and lower the risk for developing several types of cancer. Eating whole apples is the healthiest choice, since the skin contains most of the fiber and helpful flavonoids.
These energy-boosting fruits are a natural source for fructose and glucose. They’re also known to improve digestion, boost immunity, and enhance skin and overall health. Their flesh inside is softer and kinder than even apples, making pears a good choice if you find apples a little too tough. The pleasure of pears comes in their wide variety.
Best Fruit to Eat in Winter
Navel Oranges are delicious citrus fruits widely available in the winter months. Citrus is full of vitamin C and has been shown to protect against many diseases. They’re easy to eat: peel them, and decide how you’re going to take the segments apart to have at them. Oranges should be firm, with no soft spots. Don’t worry if they have some green blush to their skin and aren’t completely orange. This “citrus greening” doesn’t mean they aren’t ripe but rather that they have excess chlorophyll in their skin to protect them from sunburn. To learn the difference between navel and valencia oranges, read Navels vs. Valencias.
Whether yellow, pink, or ruby red, there’s so much goodness in a grapefruit. This naturally occurring hybrid between the orange and the pomello has lots of vitamin C and fiber, and other properties that aid in joint health. Some people think that they’re too sour to eat on their own, but the sour part of the grape-fruit isn’t the fruit itself—it’s the pith (the walls between the segments of the fruit, and the white “skin” that covers the fruit past the peel). How do you know when it’s ripe? Much like oranges, you want a firm skin with no softness. To find out how to enjoy grapefruit at your desk, watch this video.
Best Fruit to Eat in Spring
They’re sweet, sticky, and all-around wonderful. Packed with vitamins A & C and tons of fiber, the creamy flesh is delicious. The easiest way to slice a mango is to hold it vertically on a cutting board and slice the sides off from wide oblong pit. To determine ripeness, you want to feel a little bit of softness when you squeeze with your fingers.
With their fuzzy skin, kiwi fruits might look intimidating—but they’re far from it. You can go right ahead and eat the skin. If you prefer, they’re also easy to cut open—which means you can scoop out the flesh without consuming the skin. Much like mango, a kiwi is ripe when you can push and get a little give.
Local Fruit is Better than Global
Advances in refrigeration, shipping, and global trade all mean that you can find many fruits year-round in your grocery store. But getting seasonal fruits that are out of your local growing season means they are traveling farther to get to you. That means a bigger carbon footprint as well as a less tasty fruit than one that was grown on a farm in your region.
“Even though you can get the stuff all year round now, it’s best when eaten [in] the season it’s supposed to be eaten in,” says Greenspun. Fruits that travel hundreds, or thousands of miles to get to you, “just don’t taste quite as good.”
Remember that all fruits are healthy for you because of their antioxidants. While you want to keep your body healthy, you also want to keep your local community healthy. Wellness isn’t just about making sure that you’re eating well—it’s about making sure that you’re eating locally and sustainably. When you support local farms, you support the local economy, and ensure there’s a wider variety of farmers producing … produce!
If you want to know what’s in season near you, use this Seasonal Food Guide that allows you to select your state, the time of year, and even what types of produce you are most interested in. Remember, every time: be sure to wash all your fruit before consumption.
Always try to eat locally—and seasonally. When you keep your local farmers healthy and keep yourself healthy in the process, you’re providing a greater good for everyone.
Jack Owens is a Boston-based creator with a love of good coffee, good food, and good writing. By night, he’s a writer, editor, and reader—by day, he’s a labor advocate and organizer for Graduate Employees at UMass Boston.