Summer is just about here! That means it’s time to kick your feet up a bit, enjoy the great outdoors, and nourish your body with these 10 refreshing summer foods that are packed with health benefits!
Is there anything better than locally grown tomatoes in the summer? Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and lycopene, both powerful antioxidants that help prevent cell damage from the sun.
Lycopene also helps protect your heart, having positive effects on cardiovascular health such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies have shown it to lower the risk of developing cancer as well.
2. Zucchini and Squash
Both of these vegetables contain a fiber called pectin, which improves heart health and can lower cholesterol levels. Throw them on the grill to round out your summer meal on the patio!
As the name suggests, watermelon is made up of 92% water! Its high water content will not only keep you hydrated on hot summer days, but will also help you to feel fuller longer, preventing cravings and overeating.
Watermelon also contains lycopene, the heart-healthy antioxidant.
Oranges are another refreshing and hydrating summer fruit with about 80% water content, and they are a great source of vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants.
Oranges are also a great source of potassium. Potassium is one of the most crucial electrolytes we lose when we sweat, and deficiencies can lead to a number of health issues, ranging from muscle cramps to cardiovascular problems. Keep yourself hydrated, healthy, and refreshed with this citrus fruit!
5. Iced Green Tea
If your taste buds are looking for something other than water this summer, go for unsweetened iced green tea rather than sugary juices, sports drinks, and other unhealthy summer drinks.
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants that can help fight cancer and heart disease. The tea’s caffeine content also offers an extra mental and physical boost to keep you going all summer long!
Blueberries are full of flavonoids, which are antioxidants focused on protecting the brain.
Over time, inflammation called beta-amyloid naturally builds up in our brains. Beta-amyloid – known as our “age pigment” – decreases the speed and efficiency in which our brain can think critically, retain information, and form and recall memories.
Flavonoids prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid, therefore reducing cognitive decline.
Other summer berries like strawberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants as well.
7. Salmon and Shrimp
Salmon and shrimp are great grilling alternatives to burgers and hot dogs. These seafoods offer a very lean source of protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3’s are healthy fats, incredible at lowering cholesterol and inflammation. These healthy fats are also a great source of sustained energy.
Sweet corn on the cob – another summer classic! Corn is a great source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant that promotes eye health and lowers the risk of heart disease.
A study done by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that cooking sweet corn unleashes maximum antioxidant levels, leading to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Interestingly, the study showed that the longer the corn was cooked, the higher the antioxidant levels were!
9. Mint Leaves
Mint is helpful in reducing allergy symptoms, offering relief for those spending a lot of time outdoors in the summer.
Mint is also great at easing an upset stomach!
Pineapple contains bromelain, which is a digestive enzyme as well as a powerful anti-inflammatory, decreasing inflammation and swelling.
This tropical fruit contains several other healthy nutrients and antioxidants. Try it on the grill for an interesting (and delicious!) twist!