You don’t need to spend a fortune on exotic superfoods from distant lands to reap the amazing health benefits they offer. With summer here, there are many great superfoods at your local market, farm stand, and maybe even backyard. They offer some incredible health rewards but also a low environmental cost since most of these foods don’t have far to travel to get to your table. While there are dozens of great summer superfoods, here are some of my favorites:
Avocados—Loaded with healthy Omega-9 fatty acids (the same fats found in olive oil, olives, and macadamia nuts), avocados speed the conversion of fat into energy and boost the rate of metabolism. Avocados have also been shown to improve blood vessel health. They contain a nutrient called glutathione which blocks at least thirty different carcinogens and is required by the liver to properly detoxify many synthetic chemicals. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that elderly people who had high levels of glutathione were healthier and less likely to suffer from arthritis.
Berries—Strawberries and blueberries and raspberries…oh, my! Each berry could take its own rightful place on my summer superfoods list since they each offer so many health benefits. Berries contain anti-pain compounds that are better than many drugs. Check out my article Top 10 Sensational Summer Berries to learn the rewards of these delightful treats.
Cherries—The striking reddish-purplish color of cherries indicates their plentiful amounts of phytonutrients (plant nutrients), particularly anthocyanins and quercetin, both of which have potent antioxidant properties. Anthocyanins are powerful protectors against brain disease and quercetin helps alleviate breathing disorders, reactions, and joint inflammation. Cherries, like most berries, contain compounds that are anti-inflammatory and have been proven to be even more effective than some non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Grapes—Purple or red grapes are an excellent source of the phytonutrient quercetin, which has been shown to prevent depression, improve mental functioning, and lessen breathing problems linked to asthma. Purple or red grapes also contain the phytonutrient resveratrol, which has many health benefits, including heart disease prevention and increasing longevity. Ellagic acid, found in grapes, has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Plus grapes are a good source of the mineral boron, which is needed for building strong bones as well as hormone-production, particularly in post-menopausal women.
Leafy Greens—Packed with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll (the green color), phytonutrients, and enzymes, leafy greens deserve a prominent place in your diet. The darker the color the more intense the nutrients will be. This is particularly true of chlorophyll—a good blood cleanser. Most leafy greens contain high amounts of calcium and magnesium to help build strong bones, muscles, and a relaxed nervous system.
Related: 10 Tasty Kale Recipes
Plums—Plums are an overlooked superfood. Most people never give plums a second thought yet these fruits contain some phytonutrients scarcely found in other foods: neochlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid, both of which are well-researched, potent antioxidants. They are particularly effective at neutralizing a type of free radical called superoxide anion radical, which is a serious threat to healthy cells and tissues, including brain cells.
Tomatoes—Packed with vitamin C and lycopene, tomatoes are an excellent addition to your diet. Lycopense has shown tremendous anti-aging and anti-cancer properties in research. It even demonstrates the incredible capacity to protect genetic material against disease and damage. It is showing tremendous promise against colon and prostate cancers.
Watermelon—While tomatoes get all the credit for their lycopene content, they are not the only good source of this phytonutrient. Watermelons also contain these prostate-protecting, anti-aging, and disease-thwarting substances. Watermelon is also high in vitamin C, beta carotene, and glutathione content—the latter of which helps to remove toxins from your blood and improve liver detoxification.
What are your favorite summer superfoods? I’d love to know.