Mother Nature has gifted us with all the necessary elements to keep us well nourished and maintain good health. After civilisation men became capable of storing food for a longer duration. These days with the application of modern techniques, most of the seasonal fruits and vegetables are available all around the year. But still few fruits and vegetables are best in taste during its season. Even the nutritional value is adequate and they are also cost-effective. As summer is just knocking at the doors with an increase in temperature, humidity along with lots of complications but also brings the variety of nature soothing fruits and veggies. Here are some of them:
- Mango - Mangos are known as The king of all fruits. This is a juicy, flavourful tropical fruit with a high value of vitamins and minerals particularly Vitamin - A, C and B-complex. It is also high in antioxidants. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 180 - 230 kcal with 8-10 gm of carbohydrate. There are more than 100 variety of mangoes available across India.
- Papaya - It is also another tropical fruit available all around the year but the best quality is available during summer. Both raw and ripe papaya posses huge health benefits. It contains Zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant and reduces cell damage. 100 gm of the editable portion of papaya provides approx. 100 kcal energy with 4 - 5 gm of carbohydrates.
- Watermelon - To reduce the effect of scorching heat nature gives us a natural element like watermelon. As the name suggests this tropical fruit contains approx. 95% of water. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 70 - 85 kcal with 3 - 4 gm of carbohydrate.
- Litchi - It is another seasonal tropical fruit with a high content of manganese, magnesium, copper and iron. It also contains a high amount of fibre and B Complex vitamins which in turn increases fat metabolism aiding in weight loss.
- Guava - We can call it a super fruit as this tropical fruit contains high quality of nutrient with unique flavours and taste. 100 gm edible portion of guava provides 9 gm of fibre which is high content. It is also rich in Vitamin-C and a very economical source to fight Vitamin C deficiency.
- Pineapple - This pleasantly available tropical summer season fruit posses a wide variety of vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. It helps to boost immunity as well as good digestion. A natural component naming Bromelain is present in pineapple which acts as a natural fat burner. So it is helpful for people who are looking for weight loss. In spite of its sweet taste, this is also low in calorie. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 180 kcal energy with 9 gm of carbohydrate and 4 gm of dietary fibre.
- Muskmelon - Also known as ‘Sweet Melon’. The former name is due to the typical musky smell. This particular summer fruit is used for both internally and externally (topical use). The rich vitamin and mineral profile helps to prevent lifestyle disorders like obesity, heart disease, etc. A mask made from muskmelon seeds promotes healthy hair growth and deals with dandruff. The pulp pack is very good for skin during summer.
- Jackfruit - It is an exotic tropical fruit with distinctive sweet flavour and aroma. This fruit is available only a short duration of time and can be used in both raw and ripe form. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 180 kcal with 14 gm of carbohydrate and 3.6 gm of dietary fibre. Even the seeds are very useful for tropical recipes.
- Jamun - Jamun also known as Black Plum is a typical summer fruit which poses many health benefits such as stomach pain and cramps etc. The presence of phenolic compound in Jamun is effective against cancer, heart disease etc. The fruit has a low glycemic index and reduces the symptoms of urination and thirst, thus very effective in treatment of diabetes. The juice of jamun is very helpful for treating stomach ulcer.
- Plum - The low-calorie high fibre fruit plum is a famous tropical fruit which is very good to releave constipation. It has a phenolic compound which acts as an antioxidant. The anthocyanins are effective to fight cancer.
- Parwal (Pointed Gourd) - It is a tropical summer vegetable with a very inexpensive source of high nutrients like vitamin A, B1, C and Calcium. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 100 kcal with 3 - 4 gm of carbohydrate and 2.6 gm of dietary fibre.
- Karela (Bitter Gourd) - Karela or bitter gourd is not really a vegetable but it is actually a fruit. It posses a huge medicinal property. It is bitter in taste. In India, both cooked and raw forms are used. Karela juice is very good when had in the morning if you are suffering from diabetes or any skin disease. It is an excellent source of dietary fibre. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 75-87 kcal with 2.5 - 3 gm of carbohydrate.
- Okra (Ladies Finger) - Okra or locally known as ladies finger and widely available all over India. This is high in soluble fibre content. It is a very economical vegetable. The warm humid weather is ideal for growing this plant. It is an antioxidant rich vegetable which is beneficial for vascular diseases, diabetes and in some digestive disorders. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 115 kcal with 3 - 4 gm of carbohydrate along with 3 gm of dietary fibre. It is a good source of calcium.
- Lauki (Bottle Gourd) - Due to its unique bottle like shape it is named as bottle gourd. It has white spongy flesh. Like other nutrient-rich veggies, it is also used both in raw and cooked form. The fresh juice is very helpful for treating acidity and stomach ulcer. Due to its low calorie and high fibre content, it is very helpful for diabetes and obesity.
- Brinjal (Eggplant) - Though this vegetable is available all around the year but a good quality is available during the summer time. A wide variety of eggplant is available across India. It contains high amount of phenolic compounds along with vitamins and minerals which posses great health benefits. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 95 -110 kcal with 1.6 - 2.5 gm of carbohydrate along with 2 - 2.5 gm of dietary fibre.
- Tinda (Round Gourd / Apple Gourd) - This tropical summer vegetable contains anti-inflammatory compounds which helps control heart-related diseases like blood pressure. It has a good amount of carotene which slows the cellular regeneration processes. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 55 - 60 kcal with 1.9 -2 gm carbohydrate along with 2 gm of dietary fibre which aids digestion.
- Beans - This family of vegetable contains a numerous amount of chlorophyll, which acts as an anti-carcinogenic compound. This is also a good source of iron and Vitamin - C. According to ICMR’s Indian Food Value, 100 gm of edible portion gives approx. 85 -97 kcal with 2.6 gm carbohydrate along with 4 - 4.5 gm of fibre.
- Pumpkin - This orange coloured vegetable is high in carotene and dietary fibre. It is used for preparation of vegetable curry as well as sweets like marmalade. The seeds are also very beneficial.
- Figs - This tropical vegetable contains a high amount of natural sugar, minerals and dietary fibre. It is also rich in potassium calcium, magnesium, copper and Iron.
The onset of summer comes with lots of warmth, vibrancy and a variety of fruits and vegetables for us to enjoy. So let us indulge in the delicacies of these savoury gifts that mother nature has provided us and make this summer a happier and healthier one.
Longvah T., Ananthan R. et al. (2017). Indian Food Composition Tables. National Institute Of Nutrition. Indian Council of Medical Research.Department of Health Research Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Jamai Osmania (PO), Hyderabad – 500 007.