Some benefits of fresh Michigan produce

Take advantage of this season's fruits and vegetables.

Summer is a season of bountiful harvest for Michigan food growers. These seasonal fruits and vegetables can also offer consumers health benefits they might not be able to find other times of the year. The United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables.

Keeping this guidline in mind, eating a colorful plate will further increase the range of nutrients you are eating. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables can include the following benefits.

Convenience: Although fresh produce isn’t always viewed as being as convenient as packaged food, with a few simple steps it can be.Washed and chopped up raw fruit and vegetables can be stored in individual servings so they can easily become part of packed lunches or consumed as snacks.

Skin: Vitamin C is a antioxidant that is found naturally in our skin. Eating fruit like pineapple and kiwi that are rich in this vitamin will help nourish your skin.

Healing/immune system: Vitamin A influences our immune system, so including produce like carrots, asparagus, spinach and tomatoes goes a long way to keeping your immune system in good shape.

Weight management: Fruit and vegetables are nutrient-dense, meaning they have a large amount of nutrients relative to their amount of calories (energy). This makes them heart and waistline friendly additions to your diet.

Regularity and digestive health: Fiber works to scrub our intestinal track and rid our body of waste. A diet high in fiber, featuring fruits and vegetables like rhubarb, broccoli, blueberries and peas is great for digestive health.

Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Fresh has information about storing, canning and preserving your fruits and vegetables.

In recognition of the health benefits and to encourage visits to local farm markets, the Commission on Aging and WIC will offer ProjectFresh coupons to qualifying low-income individuals so they may purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.

To contact an expert in your area, visit

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