Watermelon triangles.

We’ll spare you the lecture: You already know you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. After all, they’re an important source of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and a variety of disease-fighting phytochemicals.

At this time of year, gardens and markets are overflowing with seasonal bounty, making it easy to work more of them into your diet. In fact, just choosing among all the delicious options can be the hard part. So here’s a quick guide to 10 summer fruits and veggies that give you amazing nutritional bang for your produce buck, plus expert tips on how to cook and enjoy them.

Illustration: Joel Holland


Low in calories, blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that fight cell damage and reduce inflammation. Some research suggests that these berries bolster brain function, so eating them may help keep your memory sharp.

One cup of cherries has just 87 calories and packs 306 mg of potassium, a blood-pressure-lowering mineral that about 98 percent of Americans don’t get enough of. (The daily recommendation is 4,700 mg.)

A medium peach provides more than 10 percent of your daily vitamin C and 285 mg of potassium. Its color comes from the antioxidants beta carotene and lutein. Some research suggests that the antioxidants in peaches may have cancer-fighting properties.

Like other berries, raspberries are rich in brain-boosting anthocyanins. But they have another big benefit: One cup contains 8 grams of fiber, a nutrient that aids digestion and may lower cholesterol, protect against type 2 diabetes, and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

As its name suggests, this fruit is mostly water—91 percent—so it’s hydrating. Plus, watermelon has vitamins A and C, B vitamins, and potassium for just 46 calories per cup. It’s one of the few sources of the antioxidant lycopene, which may protect against certain cancers and heart disease.

Illustration: Joel Holland


Bell Peppers
A cup of chopped red bell peppers provides more than twice as much vitamin C as a midsized orange, plus plenty of beta carotene, folate, and fiber.

In addition to fiber, corn contains disease-fighting phytochemicals as well as the minerals magnesium and potassium. A medium ear has fewer than 100 calories. Just be mindful not to slather it in butter and salt.

More on Healthy Eating

That rich purple color comes courtesy of anthocyanins, and eggplants supply potassium, too. Tip: To keep it from soaking up oil (and extra calories) when you cook it, just spritz with olive oil spray before you grill, roast, or sauté.

A small tomato has just 16 calories. Whether tomatoes are red or yellow, they pack a decent amount of vitamin C. But only the red variety contains the antioxidant lycopene.

This favorite of low-carb dieters is not only low in calories but also high in potassium and manganese. Zucchini (and other summer squash) also supplies vitamin C and energy-boosting B vitamins.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.