It’s time to start planning your summer menus! Entertaining and cooking outdoors is one of my favorite ways to show my friends a good time. Many people associate summer parties and barbecues with less healthful food options. But you can infuse a lot of nutritional density into your celebration by just knowing what’s at its best right now. Look for these 7 superfoods in season for summer and kick up the nutrition at all your summer get togethers.
7 Superfoods In Season for Summer
Blueberries: Blueberries are available from May through October. So they are at their peak now. Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid known as anthocyanins, which are responsible for giving foods like blueberries, cranberries, red cabbage and eggplants their iconic deep red, purple and blue hues. Anthocyanins are responsible for more than just the blueberry’s pretty blue color – they also contribute to the popular fruit’s numerous health benefits. This article from Medical News Today lists the many possible health benefits associated with eating more blueberries. I love blueberries because you don’t always have to use them for a dessert or fruit salad. They go great just tossed into just about any kind of salad, and are a nice addition to morning smoothies as well.
Red Bell Peppers: While all peppers are very low in calories (about 25 per cup), reds—which taste sweeter and milder—are best for you. They contain 11 times more beta-carotene than green bell peppers, and while the green variety delivers 60 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, red peppers give you 240 percent.
Beans: Beans are abundant through the summer, especially in the warmer period. Beans help raise levels of the hormone leptin, which curbs appetite, and they deliver a powerful combination of B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and folate. All of this will help maintain healthy brain, cell and skin function and even helps to reduce blood pressure and stroke risk. Beans can help keep you in feeling fuller longer and deliver an excellent source of sugar-free energy through much of your day. Here is a simple salad recipe using fresh pole beans and heirloom potatoes.
Tomatoes: Lycopene is highest in very red tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant found in deep red foods like tomatoes and watermelon. Tomatoes are also hight in vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. And, as you probably already know, gorgeous, vine ripened tomatoes with that beautiful consistency of a ripe plum, are a highlight of most people’s summer season. What if you end up with tons of ripe tomatoes? Don’t worry! According to this article from the European Food Information Council, cooking and canning tomatoes to make tomato paste or sauce renders the lycopene more available to the body. Want to try an extra healthy departure from the traditional summer caprese salad? Check out this recipe using vegan pine nut cheese!
Cantaloupe: One cup of cantaloupes contain more than 100% of your DV of both vitamin A and vitamin C. Intake of cantaloupe has recently been found to lower risk of metabolic syndrome. In a study involving hundreds of women living and teaching in Tehran, Iran, the lowest risk of metabolic syndrome was found to occur in women who ate the greatest amount of fruit. (In this study, the “greatest amount” meant a minimum of 12 ounces per day.) Five fruits contributed most to total fruit intake: apples, grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and bananas. Women who consumed the largest amounts of these fruits were also determined to have the healthiest levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in their bloodstream. CRP is an indicator very commonly used to assess levels of inflammation, and it’s very likely that the anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in cantaloupe and other fruits contributed not only to these participants’ healthy levels of CRP but also to their decreased risk of metabolic syndrome.
Basil: Did you know that all you need is one healthy basil plant, growing in a healthy, sunny spot, and you can be supplied with gorgeous basil all summer long, and possibly into the fall? This perfectly explained video explains how easy it is to do. Basil contains an ANDI score for nutrition density of 518! That is the highest of all the common household herbs.
Swiss Chard: One of the most nutritious foods growing on the planet, Swiss chard, is also very abundant all summer and very easy to grow. Just one of cooked Swiss chard provides approximately 716% of vitamin K needs, 214% of vitamin A, 53% of vitamin C, 38% of magnesium, 29% of manganese, 27% of potassium, 22% of iron, 17% of vitamin E. What I love about chard is that it is tender enough to enjoy raw in a salad, but also hearty enough to stuff and bake, like in this recipe.
If you enjoyed learning about all the super nutrition talent hidden in your summer meals, you will love our Whole, Clean & Green community! You can be a FREE GUEST at our next webinar to learn more. See you there!