Knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season can be confusing. Summer in India comes with it’s own variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. But with the local grocery stores being stocked and loaded with every kind of produce under the sun, we are spoilt for choice. The seasonal produce isn’t just more flavorful than what’s shipped across the country, but it’s also more nutritious.

Fruits and vegetables harvested at just the right time in their peak season are more nutritionally dense because they’ve had time to mature and develop abundant nutrients. Sure, that oranges (which are ideally a winter fruit) you eat every morning year-round taste fine-but nutrition wise it’s not giving you much because it was picked prematurely to ripen over the days. Another example would be spinach. Eating it in season provides up to three times more vitamin C than eating it out of season.

So next time you head to the grocery store, stock up on these veggies and fruits to make your summer more nutritious.

  • Garlic

Garlic is a great source of phytonutrients and minerals. But apart from this garlic is also rich in potassium,iron,calcium, magnesium,manganese and zinc, in addition to Vitamins B and C. Note that the bulbs have to be very firm and have a subtle, pungent aroma. The skin should be intact and the color should range from bleach white to tinted hues of purple. If you have been cautious about consuming garlic due to the breath issues, you should know that this super food has cancer fighting properties too. Need we say more? It’s time you invested in some breath mints to reap the benefits of garlic.

  • Mango

It is arguably the most sought-after summer fruit in India. Mango is loaded with fiber and contains high amounts of iron and selenium. It is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C as well as minerals like potassium, calcium and phosphorus. The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C, found in Mangoes, lower serum LDL cholesterol levels in the body, while the potassium helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. The fruit also has immunity-boosting properties. Don’t be shy and dig your teeth in this yummy and healthy delight. With all these benefits, it’s not the king of fruits for nothing.

  • Tomatoes

Though they’re a good source of Vitamin C, they’re most widely hailed for the antioxidant Lycopene. Lycopene is said to be a natural sunscreen and an anti ageing agent and this is what makes tomato the ideal summer vegetable. When you’re picking tomatoes, press them gently and check for firmness. The skin should be intact and not cracked. Also avoid ones that are yellowish in color; go for tomatoes in the range of red to green to black. You can add them to salads or have them whole.

  • Cucumbers

Rich in potassium, high in Vitamin K, and packed with water, cucumbers are the perfect summer vegetable to keep you full, cool, and hydrated. Varieties differ and the skin can be smooth to slightly bumpy, but look for ones that are firm and do not falter under pressure with a tight skin that is not wrinkled. It’s picky choosing the right cucumber because they come in many hues. Some are a uniform deep green, but others are a little lighter with some white to beige strokes, sometimes even yellow. So on the color-ripeness front there’s no dead give-away and hence many of us usually end up with a foul bitterness in our mouths. However, look out for a fresh ‘green’ aroma that cucumbers usually elude.

  • Melons

Melons have the most interesting variety with the red and fleshy watermelon to the smooth and yellow muskmelon; and each boosts unique health benefits. Watermelons like all red foods are rich in lycopene and are an excellent source of vitamins (A, C, B-6) and minerals (potassium and manganese.) When picking watermelons, tap the outer layer of the melon and look out for a hollow sound and green skin.  For cantaloupes and other melons, a nice musky aroma should be a good giveaway. These melons should be yellow or beige or light green in color. If they are whitish or a deep green then they haven’t seen enough sun to ripen.

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