Summer’s fresh fruits and vegetables are perfect for a PH diet

Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month?

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by Jen Cueva |

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With warmer months on the horizon, many of us eagerly await the fresh fruits and vegetables they bring. I’m one of those people who can’t wait for the fresh produce season. It benefits the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community, too, as we’re often advised to follow a heart-healthy diet.

I’ve always loved eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Skipping meat for a few days is no big deal to me, although I know that eating protein is essential. But when the temperatures rise and local farmers bring out their latest treasures, my excitement for fresh produce goes through the roof. Summer’s gift of fresh fruits and veggies is unbeatable.

My husband, Manny, and I enjoy visiting our local farmers markets. Today we arrived just before closing and bought fresh corn, tomatoes, summer squash, and carrots at half price. I love this market mainly for its fresh berry stand. We got large, juicy strawberries and a mix of huge blackberries and raspberries. Even Manny, who isn’t picky, said they were the best he’s ever had. We always look forward to the berry season.

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Our visit was perfect timing because June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. I hope we’ll make it back to the market a few more times this month. Do you have a favorite fruit or vegetable that you look forward to as June rolls around?

Eating more fruits and vegetables has many perks. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they boost our immune system and enhance overall health. Plus, they’re usually lower in calories, making them perfect for weight management.

I’ve discovered fantastic ways to incorporate more of these incredible foods into my daily diet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, men under 50 need to eat 2½ cups of vegetables a day, while women require 3 cups. But let’s be honest — chewing can often feel like a chore when shortness of breath from PH kicks in. That’s why it’s crucial to get creative and make the process enjoyable and easy.

Let’s dive into some fun and delicious ways to boost our diets.

Plan and get creative

If it’s convenient and within my budget, I’ll go for precut fruits and veggies. Bagged salads come in many varieties and are easy to find, but I buy greens whole when I’m shopping at a local farmers market. Then I’ll delegate the washing, prepping, cutting, and storage to my family. My husband and daughter are amazing helpers, making the process fun and efficient.

For snacks, fresh berries are perfect for something quick and healthy. They can also be added to your morning yogurt or oatmeal. Whole fruits like apples, oranges, grapefruits, and mangoes make a vibrant fruit bowl anytime you need a pick-me-up between meals.

I also enjoy making a stir-fry and soups with fresh green beans, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, and summer squash. If you’re nearing the end of the week and want to use up the leftover vegetables, this meal is perfect. All those bits and pieces left over from other meals make fun combinations.

Tossing vegetables into main dishes and sauces is another way to get extra nutrients. And who doesn’t love a refreshing smoothie? It’s the perfect way to blend those fruits and veggies without the extra chewing. Get creative, and you’ll discover delicious combinations from the bounty of produce available. Enjoy the adventure of healthy eating!

Are there local farmers markets nearby that you might want to explore? I encourage you to visit one — you’ll be amazed by the summer sights and scents. Not only do these markets support local farmers, but they also foster a sense of community and connection to the origins of our food.

As we savor the abundance of summer produce, let’s remember that these fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients that boost our health and well-being.

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


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