June is when Americans from all walks of life rush to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month. At least they should. Who knew there even was such a thing as a National Fresh Fruit & Veggies Month? In honor of this (admittedly, odd celebration), we’ll tell you some things you may not know.

Two Cool Fruits You Need More Of

Grapefruit and raspberries are well known and popular, true A-listers in the fresh fruit world. Of course they taste great, but they can even help you to lose weight.

Grapefruit has many of the vitamins of the other citrus fruits but has a lower Glycemic Index. That means that sugar is released slowly in the body rather than in one quick rush. [This is good because…]

The famous Grapefruit Diet actually has many variations. The results of a 12-week study linking grapefruit to weight loss done at the Scripps Clinic in 2004 put 100 men and women on a diet that included half a grapefruit or grapefruit juice three times a day with a meal. The average weight loss was 3.6 pounds for those who ate their grapefruit, 3.3 pounds for those who drank it. However, many reportedly lost more than 10 pounds.

Grapefruit has chemicals that may lower insulin levels and expedite weight loss. The only problem with it is that it can interact with certain medications. It is important to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if you are on any of these medications. If so, you need to avoid it. (Sorry about that.) Even if you don’t lose much weight, the vitamins and enzymes found in grapefruit are good for you. We actually don’t recommend the grapefruit diet, but rather that you supplement your diet with this healthy fruit.

The poor raspberry has an unpleasant sound connected with it, which expresses “disapproval or contempt,” according to Webster, and has even had an award of cinematic shame named after it (the Golden Raspberry). But don’t let that part of its reputation dissuade you; there are many good things these sweet red berries can provide.

Raspberries are rich in antioxidants. Eating just three or more servings per week has been found to lower the risk for age-related macular degeneration. The anthocyanins (important antioxidants) in raspberries have been found to delay the effect of aging. Although raspberries contain sugar, it does not seem to affect blood sugar in a significant way. Red raspberry ketones are currently being used in Japan as a weight loss supplement. Red raspberry seed oil has attracted the interest of the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries because it is rich in Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 24-50. So, assuming someone is giving you the right kind of raspberry, accept it gladly.

Eat Your Veggies, Dear

Mom was right again? Yep. Broccoli and kale are now the darlings of the modern veggie world. There is good reason for this. To start with, they are rich in flavonoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and reduce the allergic response in the body. They both lower cholesterol when steamed. When cooked, they bind with bile acids that actually take out the cholesterol, and they both help with the body’s detoxifying ability.

Broccoli and Kale help to restore vitamin D levels in those who are deficient and help everyone else’s levels stay normal. They are loaded with vitamin A and K, and these two vitamins work together for the balance of the essential vitamin D’s metabolism.

Broccoli and Kale both help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Broccoli has been found to lower the risk of oral and liver cancers. Kale has been found to reduce the risk of bladder, breast, colon, and ovarian and prostate cancers. And like most veggies, they contain few calories relative to their mass. In a full pound kale, there’s only 222 calories. In a full pound of broccoli there’s just 153! (Compare that to your average-sized glazed doughnut, which has about 260 calories in just 2 ounces—that’s well over 2,000 calories a pound!) Bottom line: you can eat a LOT of veggies and gain relatively little weight.

Vegetables and fruits are great for all of us to consume. That is why ALL doctors recommend them. (None of that “4 out of 5” stuff here!)

Celebrate the rest of this month properly by eating lots of them and enjoy!