10 Healthy Foods to Eat This Summer
Honestly, I have never cooked beets, but I've ordered them in restaurants, roasted them and served them with goat cheese – yum. Beets are packed with a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which have been shown to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, as well as fiber, folate, potassium and manganese. The truth is, they are not that hard to cook – this summer, even I might give it a go.
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries … I don't think I've ever met a berry I didn't like. I look forward to eating them every summer, when their taste is really at its best. Packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, berries are associated with so many health benefits, including possibly reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and certain cancers. And the best part is you can enjoy any cup of berries for less than 60 calories.
You might see eggplant year-round in the stores, but trust me: It doesn't taste nearly as good in other seasons as it does in the summer. Research on eggplant has focused on a phytonutrient called nasunin, which has been shown to protect our cell membranes from free radical damage. It is a great addition to veggie, chicken or beef kabobs. I love to add leftover grilled eggplant to a sandwich with portobello mushrooms, tomato and mozzarella cheese.
What's a summer barbecue without corn on the cob? I know some people think this veggie should be off-limits because it can be high in calories, but really, that's only the case if you are drenching it in butter. Corn is delicious grilled in the husk or with a little oil wrapped in tin foil. Just squeeze a little lime on top and butter is but a memory. Corn is also great in a salad with black beans, tomato and red onion. Sweet corn is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that promote healthy vision.
5. Greek Yogurt
Yes, yogurt is available all year long and it isn't "in season" in the summer, but I believe it's especially important to have on hand this time of year. Packed with calcium, protein and probiotics (which are key for your digestive tract), yogurt can be enjoyed in so many ways. Toss Greek yogurt with any summer fruits or veggies for a delicious breakfast, blend it in asmoothie, eat it for a snack or throw it in a homemade dip for your barbecue.
Every summer, I look forward to the day the peaches show up at the market. For me, they are the perfect dessert for lunch and my go-to snack at the beach. They are also delicious simply grilled and served with dinner when entertaining. An excellent source of vitamin C, peaches may decrease the risk of diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
With so many occasions for snacking this time of year, you have to be especially prepared. Peanuts contain heart-healthy "good" fats. In fact, more than 80 percent of the fat found in peanuts is made up of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which make them a perfect better-for-you snack. A single 1-ounce serving of dry-roasted or oil-roasted peanuts delivers 7 grams of protein. The combination of protein and fat will keep you satiated longer. Combine them with a peach or berries for a long car ride, take them with you to the beach or a baseball game, or enjoy a handful before going to a friend's cookout.
Nothing – I repeat, nothing – is better than tomatoes in the summer. Sure, I eat them year-round, but I devour them in the summer months. Tomatoesare a major dietary source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are delicious in any salad, sandwich, pasta dish or simply on their own with a dip as an hors d'oeuvre.
Zucchini is a very low-calorie vegetable – it provides only 29 calories per cup. It's a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and may lower cholesterol levels. Growing up, my dad use to plant zucchini and we would eat it for months. (If only I appreciated it back then.) Now, I know it's great grilled, alone, in kebabs or served with fish, tossed in pasta or spiralized.
Just like corn, what is a summer without watermelon? Even though watermelons are 92 percent water, they contain a lot of beneficial nutrients, such as of lycopene and vitamins A, B6 and C. At 40 calories per cup, watermelon makes for the perfect sweet dessert. You can also try it in a salad with feta cheese, as a flavoring for plain water or to make some really interesting summer cocktails. See? Healthy summer eating (and drinking) can be fun.
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