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5 Energizing Fresh Summer Foods

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.

Raw Blueberry Cream Pie

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.

Rustic Plum Tart

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.

Strawberry Crepes

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.

Mediterranean Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes

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.

Great resources for finding local farms, farm trails, farmer’s markets and all fresh food is Local Harvest and the Eat Well Guide.

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Eating for Health, Food, Health, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Raw, ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

28 comments

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10:38AM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

No, thanks. They are too fattening.

7:51PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

thnxs :)

9:45PM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

Funny that, strawberry season is now in Australia, the middle of winter!

6:51PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Our local strawberry season is already over, but I'm looking forward to other berries and tree fruits.

I have my own garden for the first time in decades. I'm picking lettuce, spinach, chard and (very soon) radishes. The tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers have yet to put out blossoms, but they're growing like gangbusters. And the pumpkin, which was a volunteer from my compost bin, has started to bloom and I'm very excited about getting a free pumpkin, or two, at the end of the summer. All in a raised bed that's only 4' x 4'.

Even better, I'll be all set for next year, and should be able to gat an early start. Then I can work on expanding to two beds. I'm thinking a small strawberry patch might fit into the corner of the second bed.

Another bonus to having a garden - less lawn to mow!

2:09AM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Thanks for sharing.

11:25PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

thanks

9:52PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

im so not a cook, but when it comes to dessert, i can be a bit crazy! i wanna try all these great receipes/ideas.

9:21PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

delicious feeling, thanks for this article!

3:47PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

Wanted to send a thank you to Suzanne H. for her comment and my green star. My friend has a backyard container garden and one 2'X3' box is now supplying her with a handful of delicious strawberries every day...I'd try it but we deal with wild critters that like them too! Ha.

11:56AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

I love watermelon but I prefer them with seeds. The only kind I've been able to find -- even at our farmer's market is the seedless sort! And those are fairly tasteless! I wish they would bring back the ones with sturdy seeds. YUM!!

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