Rainbows are a rare beauty, but what if they didn’t have to be? What if you could experience a rainbow every day of the year? Well you can! I’m not talking about the magical arch resulting from the reflection, refraction, and dispersion of light that spans the sky, but the rainbow formed by whole, nutrient dense, and flavorful produce that can span your plate! Extensive research has been done on the incredibly beneficial effects of different pigments in fresh produce, known as phytonutrients. These benefits range from better brain functioning to cancer prevention. To read more about these benefits, check out this post, by Dr. Deanna Minich.
Of course during the Summer months, it is easier to accomplish that full rainbow. During July, be sure to take advantage of the quality of these fruits and vegetables and their phytonutrients:
- Red– Cherries, strawberries, beets, red bell peppers
- Orange– carrots, nectarines
- Yellow– corn, yellow bell peppers
- Green– peas, zucchini, kale
- Blue/Purple– blueberries, blackberries, plums
- Tan/White/Brown– garlic, horseradish
I consider corn a summer staple. A barbeque is not complete without corn’s appearance. The slight sweetness of its juicy kernels is hard to resist. But what is corn? Is it a vegetable? A grain? It’s actually a vegetable, grain, and a fruit, depending on who you ask and how you eat it. On the cob, my personal favorite preparation, it is considered a vegetable. With this in mind, it is considered a starchy vegetable, so I think of corn on the cob as a healthy carb. While there are many ways to prepare corn, it is special, because it is delicious on its own. It doesn’t need any additional ingredients if you don’t have time to prepare anything fancy. You can also enjoy perfect corn on the cob with little effort and a foolproof method in about ten minutes, using a trick I learned from my Aunt. Simply prepare a pot of boiling water, drop the corn in, cover, turn off the heat, and wait five minutes for perfectly cooked corn every time.
While corn contains important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C, K, A, B, folic acid, and magnesium, it is also rich in potassium. This particular mineral plays a vital role in bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. Additionally, corn is also naturally low in sodium, with under 16mg per 100g serving. Additionally, it boasts almost 9 grams of protein per serving, about three times that of the same quantity of brown rice!
When picking corn, look for brown, sticky silk at its open tip, not black or dry. Also make sure the husk is a bright green, and not dried out. Finally, pick corn with plump kernels that look like they’re invading each other’s space. It’s alright if the large kernels do not run all the way to the tip: this means the corn was not overripe when it was picked.
Because naturally sweet corn begins to lose its sweetness after it is harvested, make sure you are buying fresh corn. For the best produce check out your local farmers market!