Summer is the season where the sun’s rays are at their highest peak. Although most fruits are available year-round now due to fast shipping from faraway places like Chile, California summer also brings a cornucopia of fresh local sensational seasonal fruits. So with summer comes a great time to enjoy these delicious fresh local seasonal fruits, not only to satisfy your sweet tooth, but also to gain maximum nutritional benefits from them.

Most summer fruits have an abundant supply of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which can help boost your metabolism, strengthen your immune system, protect you from cancer and improve your overall health. The amount of fat that is present in most of the summer fruits is negligible, except for a few that are somewhat calorie dense. Moreover, since the water content of most summer fruits is between 80% and 90%, they can help add a healthy and radiant glow to your skin, an extra bonus.

So, I thought it might be fun and interesting to look at a few of the fruit varieties that are abundant and inexpensive right now and compare nutritional values.

List of Fruits With Their Nutritional Value and Health Benefits:
● Berries
The phytochemicals in berries help boost immunity, have a protective effect against cancer, and protect against heart disease, and circulatory problems.

● Strawberries are extremely high in vitamin A, C, E, and B vitamins, high in fiber, manganese and essential flavonoids.

● Raspberries are among the top providers for fiber, vitamins B, C, iron and copper. They are an especially wonderful source for manganese, and have a high level of anthocyanin, which defends you against neurological disorders as well as tumor growth.

● Blueberries are low calorie, high fiber, and rich in vitamins C and K. Blueberries contain a whole list of phytochemicals and tannins that are said to protect you against inflammation, heart disease, Alzheimer's and cancer.

● Cherries contain diuretic properties, as well as Vitamin C. Bright red cherries not only taste great but also contain ellagic acid which inhibits the growth of carcinogenic cells in the body.

● Kiwi is low in calories, high in fiber and has a long list of vitamins; E, B vitamins, C and K. Did you know increasing your intake of vitamin K can promote better bone development and faster healing of cuts and wounds.

● Papayas and mangoes both are excellent sources of vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin A and fiber. Eating sufficient amounts of mangoes alone can make the body a rich store of vitamin A which lasts for months. Papayas are extremely high in vitamins A, C, folate and are known for containing papain, an enzyme that can help treat ingestion and other gastrointestinal diseases.

● Apricots are high in Beta carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A by the body.

● Peaches and plums contain vitamin C, beta carotene, antioxidant phytochemicals and anthocyanins all of which help to eliminate the free radicals from the body. Eating peaches can also reduce anemia and fatigue as well as high cholesterol.

● Watermelon not only helps to quench thirst, but is also a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, pectin, lycopene, potassium and iron.

Fruits that are juicy and tart seem to have the most naturally cooling effect on the body, during summers. Hence, when it gets too hot, many people and cultures rely exclusively upon recipes made using summer fruits and vegetables.

For those who are not really watching their weight, a summer fruit trifle could make a tempting dessert. For variety you can even try fresh fruit salad with some flavored low-fat yogurt or just a plain fruit salad for dessert. A fresh fruit juice will also help to satisfy thirst and avoid dehydration in summer months.

So enjoy the guilty sweet pleasures of California fresh local fruit. And if you have a favorite recipe, please share.