You know summer’s the perfect time to switch to flip-flops, but did you know it’s also the right time to change your diet? Being outdoors more often—and sweating—ups your risk for health problems such as dehydration, skin sensitivities, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The simple (and delicious) solution? Eat local, in-season fruits. Their nutrients are at their peak in the summer. But they’re not the only foods that will help your body look and feel its best during the hottest time of year. So don’t reach for the chips or packaged snacks try some of these fruits and veggies- and if you can find fresh picked options at your local Farmers Market even better!
Avoid dehydration and other deficiencies with these nutrient-packed picks.
While tomatoes are filled with antioxidants and Vitamin C, they also contain beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene, which contribute to chronic diseases—especially cancer. You can grow them in a patio container or try local fresh picked varieties.
Part of the summer squash family, zucchini contains a fiber called pectin, which is linked to increasing heart health and lowering cholesterol. If you grow your own pick them when they are about an inch in diameter- they grow fast and can quickly overpower your garden. Fry them up with EVOO and your favorite seasoning.
As its name implies, this fruit is a hydration hero, and fluids are exactly what you need when the heat is on. Watermelon’s high water content keeps you cool and hydrated, That same high water content will also keep you feeling full, which could curb cravings. As an added summer bonus, watermelon also contains lycopene, which protects skin cells from sun damage.
Cantaloupe, honey dew, and watermelon are also diuretics, which are especially important for women “because we’re so affected by hormonal changes.
BLACKBERRIES AND RASPBERRIES
These berries are great sources of fiber. Raspberries are a food that goes unnoticed a lot—they can be very expensive off-season—but there are a lot of awesome qualities in the powerful little raspberry. They’re very high in vitamin C and have 8 grams of fiber per cup.
If you’re looking for drinks more exciting than water to keep you hydrated, you may want to go green. Green tea is the perfect way to supplement your water intake when it’s super-hot outside. Studies have suggested that green tea may be helpful in fighting cancer and heart disease, lowering cholesterol, revving your metabolism and even keeping dementia at bay. And if sipping a hot drink in a hot month isn’t your cup of…well, tea, try it on ice—the cooler temp doesn’t compromise its nutritional benefits.
STRAWBERRIES AND BLUEBERRIES
Sweet, juicy berries are filled with flavonoids, powerful disease fighters found in many fruits and vegetables. Among their other pros, they increase blood flow to skin and decrease sensitivity to light, which improves skin’s appearance, structure and texture. With more daylight hours and time spent in the sun, that’s key. And because berries are so high in flavonoids, one recent study showed they might help slow cognitive decline.
What is your favorite seasonal food?