Fresh Pickings

Even if you never deviate from your favorite breakfast cereal, your morning bowl can be anything but routine when you top it off with different fruits. For the best flavor you’re smart to choose the freshest offerings. But when berries, apples, and more are easy to find at the stores year-round, it’s tough to know what items are truly at their prime. To help you pick the tastiest, most healthful, ripest cereal toppers use this handy seasonal fruit guide*.

Apples

Peak season: August through November. [1]

Health perk: Research has shown that eating 75 g dried apples each day helped reduce inflammatory markers that are associated with cardiovascular disease. [2]

Apricots

Peak season: May through July. [1]

Health perk: Apricots are a good source of potassium (400 mg per cup), [4] which helps support healthy blood pressure. [3]

Mandarin Oranges (Tangerines) [5]

Peak season: November through March. [1]

Health perk: Citrus fruits contain important nutrients such as potassium, folic acid, vitamin C and certain types of fiber that have shown health benefits. [6]

Peaches

Peak season: May through October. [1]

Health perk: Peaches and other stone fruits have been shown to have polyphenols, compounds that may provide health benefits. [7]

Raspberries

Peak season: May through November. [1]

Health perk: A single cup of raw raspberries has 8 g fiber, [8] which makes for a satisfying power-packed snack. [9]

Strawberries

Peak season: March through November. [1]

Health perk: In addition to being a great source of vitamin C, strawberries are rich in folate, an important member of the B-vitamin family. [10, 11]

* Because climates vary throughout the country, these are approximate peak seasons.

SOURCES:

1. Fruit & Nut Seasonality Chart

http://www.cuesa.org/page/seasonality-chart-fruit-and-nuts

Accessed 8/8/2013

2. Sheau C Chai, Shirin Hooshmand, Raz L Saadat and Bahram H Arjmandi

Daily apple consumption promotes cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women

The FASEB Journal. 2011;25:971.10

3. Feng J. HeNirmala D. MarkanduRosemary ColtartJeffrey Barron, Graham A. MacGregor

Effect of Short-Term Supplementation of Potassium Chloride and Potassium Citrate on Blood Pressure in Hypertensives

Hypertension.2005; 45: 571-574

4. USDA Database apricot

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2159?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=apricot

Accessed 8/8/2013

5. USDA database Tangerine (mandarin) http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2314?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=tangerine

Accessed 8/8/2013

6. Nutritional and health benefits of citrus fruits

http://www.fao.org/docrep/x2650T/x2650t03.htm

Accessed 8/8/2013

7. Cisneros-Zevallos, Luis. 2010

Promoting Stone Fruits for Protection Against the Metabolic Syndrome

An annual research report submitted to the California Tree Fruit Agreement for 2010

8. USDA Database Raspberries

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2390?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=Abridged&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=raspberry

Accessed 8/8/2013

9. Mayo Clinic: Essential for Healthy Eating

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033

Accessed 8/8/2013

10. Oregon State University: Strawberries

http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/strawberries_facts.htm

Accessed 8/8/2013

11. Office of Dietary Supplements: Folate

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/

Accessed 9/11/2013