Tasty stone fruit — so-called because of the stone-like seed inside — make perfect snacks, as they tuck easily into lunch bags or picnic baskets. Here’s what they can do for your health:

Create collagen

A cup (250 mL) of sliced apricots or plums has about one quarter of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C helps the body form collagen — the main protein in connective tissue — in bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. It also helps to increase iron absorption.

Care for your nerves and your muscles

Bored with bananas but want to get enough potassium (key for proper nerve and muscle function)? Two small peaches have slightly more of this essential mineral than a medium banana.

Sharpen eyesight
Apricots are delicious raw, but their carotenoids — antioxidants that give the flesh its vibrant orange colour — become more available to the body when cooked. Beta-carotene, for one, converts to vitamin A to help maintain eyesight, skin membranes and immune function.

Stregthen bones

Two plums contain about one tenth of your daily vitamin K, which helps maintain strong bones. Researchers have found that low levels of vitamin K are associated with an increased incidence of osteoarthritis in hands and knees.

Stay regular
Cut up a peach on your cereal and have a nectarine as a snack. But don’t peel them! The skin provides insoluble fibre that helps prevent constipation.

Recipe ideas

Now’s the time to add stone fruits to almost any meal!

• Late-summer salad: Put peach slices and crumbled feta on a bed of mixed greens. Drizzle with a dressing of Dijon, olive oil and white-wine vinegar.

• Better-tasting curry: Simmer nectarine slices in your favour-ite chicken curry for the final five minutes of cooking.

• Grill an easy side dish: Lightly brush peach, nectarine or large plum halves with canola oil and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Cook two to three minutes per side. Serve with barbecued chicken, pork chops or fish.

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