Top 10 Seasonal Foods to Summer-Proof Your Body
By Sarah Stevenson
Who doesn't love summer? Wearing bathing suits, playing Frisbee®
at the beach, swimming on a warm August night, and the abundance of
yummy fruits and veggies that grow during the summer months. There's
truly nothing like the flavor of food that's ripe and ready to be eaten
from your local farmers' market or, if you're lucky, from your own
backyard. Not only does local, seasonal food taste better, but less time
traveling from vine to plate means it maintains more vitamins,
minerals, and phytonutrients.
Here's just some of the produce in season that'll keep you healthy
and strong. That way, you can enjoy every last sunset and sunrise this
summer fruit often gets a bad rep for its fat content. Too bad, because
it's good fat, if eaten in moderation. Fresh, ripe avocados contain
non-oxidized monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can lower
blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Why do we
love this summer fruit particularly in the sunbathing season? It does a
great job at filling up your tummy due to its high fat content, so
you're not quite as vulnerable to those naughty snacks that keep you
begging for more. There's also research that suggests avocados can
reverse the aging process by providing plenty of vitamin E to heal
of us could use a bit more fiber in our diets. The secret is to also up
your water intake, so your food can move freely through your system.
Cucumbers have the perfect balance of the two. This veggie is great for
those summer months when you get all hot and sweaty. Cucumbers are a
tasty, convenient snack food and a refreshing pick-me-up to your salads,
sandwiches, and even water.
Melons. Melons are a summer superfood. They're great,
low-calorie snacks that give you a nice, fresh pick-me-up. Melons are
full of water; in fact, watermelon in particular gets 92 percent of its
weight from water, and its cousins, cantaloupe and honeydew, don't fall
far behind. You might notice most of the fruits and veggies that bloom
in summer are a great source of water, which of course is Mother Nature
taking care of us in the hot, sweaty summer months. Melons do a great
job at filling your tummy as well. Full tummy but hot body sounds like a
perfect combination for swimsuit season, right?
Corn. You can buy this summer BBQ staple year-round, but it
really tastes the best and is most cost effective during the summer
months because, you guessed, it's in season. It contains a bunch of
digestive enzymes that will help metabolize your food once it hits your
intestines. Corn is high in antioxidants, which keep your immune system
healthy. (Who wants to be sick in the summer?) It is a fantastic source
of fiber, and it contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect you
from the sun's harmful rays. So throw some corn on the barbie. It's good
trees are in bloom year-round, so they aren't actually considered a
seasonal fruit. But I always think of the summer days when my sis and I
would squeeze a bunch of lemon juice in our hair before we went surfing,
so our hair would get lighter. Like cucumber, lemons are a great way to
spice up your water. Doing this makes for a natural system.
Green beans. These
crunchy, scrumptious little veggies are great raw for a summer snack.
They also taste amazing grilled with garlic and lemon, and are so
incredibly good for you. They're rich in manganese, a nutrient that
helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Manganese also metabolizes
vitamin E, which fights against the signs of aging (an inevitable
occurrence that increases when you're exposed to too much sun). This
means green beans should be on your grocery list this summer to help
keep your skin beautiful and your body fit.
that aids digestion (warding off heartburn and gas) and stimulates your
liver, according to many holistic practitioners. Furthermore, when you
squeeze a little lemon in your water, you tend to drink more, which is
always good. Lemons are also a great exfoliant, which is super helpful
for those summer days when you start to look like a lizard shedding its
skin from all that baking in the sun. Finally, it can also work as a
teeth whitener to make your teeth even whiter against your tan skin for a
stunning smile. So when life gives you lemons, sure, you could make
lemonade, but why not stay away from all that refined sugar? Instead,
make hair lightener, teeth whitener, exfoliant, and yummy water.
Peppers. Peppers have more flavors and are less expensive
during the summer months when they're in abundance. Peppers add
vivacious color and flavor to your summer meals and contain a plethora
of nutrients. The sweeter bell peppers (red and yellow) are packed with
vitamin A, which keeps your skin nice and strong while incidentally
fighting off infection. Hot peppers like habaneros, jalapenos, serranos,
cayenne, and chipotle peppers are low in calories and have the
much-desired benefit of being metabolism-enhancing fat burners. Don't
blaze off your taste buds trying to shed pounds, but do add a little
heat to your summer plates to help kick-start the pound-shedding
easy-to-grow backyard buddies contain many nutrients that serve as
allies against summer's negative attributes. Tomatoes contain lycopene,
which is found to be effective in fighting the signs of aging due to
ultraviolet light. So when you cut up a nice, juicy tomato and toss it
in your salad, you are actually increasing your chances of keeping the
youthful sheen that sun exposure can take away. Lycopene also helps
fight against cancer. Tomatoes contain vitamins A and C as well as
beta-carotene, which are heavy hitters in the war against free radicals
that cause cell damage.
Cherries. If life were really just a bowl of cherries, it
would be one blissful life. Why? Because cherries contain some pretty
awesome nutrients. For starters, they contain melatonin, a natural
hormone produced in our brain's pineal gland that is known to slow the
aging process. Increasing your melatonin levels can offer the benefit of
a beautiful night's rest, as well as acting as a pain reliever.
Cherries also contain antioxidants (a trend in summer produce,
apparently). A 1999 study at Michigan State University found that the
antioxidant activity of tart black cherries is greater than plain ol'
vitamin E. That's certainly not the pits.
you ever compared a peach in the winter and a peach in the summer? If
you have, you know how obvious it is that this is indeed a summer fruit.
Peaches contain many nutrients that your body needs to stay vital and
strong, including vitamins A and C, as well as other antioxidants and
fiber. Like corn, peaches also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which
protect your eyes from sun damage.
So don't starve yourself of delectable food this season. Summer
offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables packed with nutrients to
make you as beautiful as you can be. Take advantage of the season. It
won't be here forever.
Labels: The best summer foods for your diet