5 Energizing Fresh Summer Foods
As I wrote about last July, one of the things I like best about summer is the food, or more specifically the fresh produce and fruits of summer.
Not only do these raw fruits and veggies offer you cool, tasty treats, many of them pack a nutritional punch that will give you the energy you need to enjoy all of your favorite outdoor summer activities.
Here are some that are usually at the top of everyone’s list for the taste. They also have the added bonus of being good for you.
What would summer be without watermelon? Watermelon is loaded with all kinds of nutrients including vitamin A, which is an antioxidant and vitamin C which helps strengthen immunity and prevent cell damage. It is also a great source of lycopene, a antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and cancer. And, all of the water in it provides much-needed hydration and its natural sugar gives you energy.
Try it here: Watermelon Mint Smoothie Recipe
Blueberries are not only tasty, but are a nutritional powerhouse. They have vitamins A, C, and B1, beta-carotene, potassium, zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, and are high in fiber and low in calories. Blueberries are associated with numerous health benefits including protection against urinary-tract infections, cancer, and brain damage from strokes. They may also reduce the build-up of “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease and stroke.
Plums are a good source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin B2, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and potassium. They have phytonutrients, called phenols, which are widely accepted as effective antioxidants and can help fight high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.
Strawberries come in second to blueberries in the USDA’s analysis of antioxidant capacity of fruits and vegetables. While store bought have the highest concentration of pesticides, growing your own organically or buying organic, gets rid of this issue.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese, and are high in folic acid. Strawberries also contain an array of beneficial antioxidants that have been shown to fight cancer. Antioxidant compounds found in strawberries may also prevent the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol, and help fight the development of heart disease.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They are also a very good source of potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, and vitamin B1. They can also help reduce the risk of heart disease due to their high levels of potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate.
During the past few years, the tomato plant has gained recognition in the health care field because it is a great source of the powerful antioxidant, lycopene. Research has shown that a diet rich in tomatoes and tomato products is associated with a lower risk of cancers of the lung, stomach, and prostate gland.
If you aren’t growing your own, you can take advantage of summer’s bounty at a local farmers’ market. There is sure to be a local farmers’ market in your area or, even if you are on vacation.