Summer’s long days and warm weather produce plentiful produce, and nothing tastes better than fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables.
The bounty makes it a great time to recharge our bodies with healthy superfoods like tomatoes, berries and plums. So fill up your basket at the market and enjoy the energy and nutrition these delicious and nourishing items provide.
Technically a fruit, tomatoes can fill summer menus in the form of caprese salads, sauces, bruschetta and salsas. They’re delicious this time of year, fresh off the vine, and they are as good for you as they taste.
What’s so great about tomatoes? They are one of the best sources of lycopene, a red-pigmented antioxidant known for preventing certain cancers. Cooking tomatoes releases even more of their lycopene content by breaking down the cell walls, and eating them with a little fat – hello, fresh mozzarella – helps our bodies absorb that lycopene even better.
A berry’s dark color is a good indicator of the vitamins it provides. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are delicious foods that help us stay healthy.
Summer berries are packed with healthful antioxidants that help fight free radicals, which can damage cells and promote aging and disease. Plus, they’re loaded with fiber, which helps keep their glycemic index low and their health factor high.
This summer, boost your body’s immune system by adding berries to your morning cereal or yogurt, smoothies and salads. Berries also freeze well, so stock up now and use them in your muffins and smoothies all year long.
3. Stone Fruits
Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and even cherries are members of the stone fruit family and are only in season during the summer.
Not only do they make for easy, on-the-go snacks to stash in your beach bag, they’re loaded with Vitamin C, are high in fiber and low in calories, so they make you feel full longer. Stone fruits are also high in potassium, an important nutrient that helps regulate blood pressure.
4. Leafy Greens
Although leafy greens like spinach, kale and chard are often thought of as winter vegetables, they should be available year round at your local farmers market or grocery store.
These greens are excellent sources of antioxidant Vitamins A, C and K, as well as plant-based iron. Utilize greens as a base for other summer superfoods by making a refreshing salad with spinach, strawberries and avocado, or blend some kale into your favorite smoothie for an instant, natural energy boost.
Watermelons are great for staying hydrated on hot summer days. Dehydration can sneak up on you and leave you feeling sluggish, but eating watermelon can help keep you hydrated and energized.
Although watermelons are roughly 90 percent water, they also contain powerful vitamins like Vitamins C and A (which promotes eye health). Like tomatoes, watermelons are also a good source of cancer-combatting lycopene. Cool down this summer by blending watermelon and ice in a blender for a refreshing, slushy drink.
Which of these summer superfoods is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!