With the hot weather and drier days comes a bounty of fruits and vegetables ripe for the picking. Most of the produce that we see during the summer season is packed with vitamins and nutrients that help keep you healthy while you are enjoying the long sunny days. Here are just a few of the fantastic health benefits from some of our favorite summer time foods.
Blueberries are considered a powerful superfood. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which are compounds that are great at decreasing inflammation and increasing our ability to heal damage to cells in the body. They are also low in the glycemic index compared to other fruits – which means that they are perfect for those that have diabetes or problems controlling their blood sugar. Blueberries are also high in vitamin K, Vitamin C and fiber, which will help keep you healthy and regular!
Raspberries are similar to blueberries in that they have an incredibly high amount of antioxidants. They have been popular in the news lately for their ketones which are being looked into for their ability to help people lose weight and regulate their metabolism. Raspberries are very high in Vitamin C which makes them more tart than their blueberry counterparts, but vitamin C is a powerful vitamin to help our immune system work as efficiently as possible.
It wouldn’t be summer without watermelon! Watermelons, along with tomatoes, are super high in lycopene, which is important for a healthy heart and bones. Watermelon is also high in vitamin C like most fruits, but unlike most fruits, it also has vitamin A, which is an important vitamin for our immune system health, as well as eye health. It can also help keep the skin clear and healthy.
Avocados are perhaps my favorite food. There is something about adding a little avocado to a meal to make it that much better. Although they have received somewhat of a bad rap due to their high fat content, did you know that the fat from avocados is what we call a “good” fat? The fat in avocados is called oleic acid, which is the fat that is commonly found in olives and olive oil; these contribute to the Mediterranean diet’s health benefits. Avocados are also high in lycopene, similar to watermelons and tomatoes.
You can’t have guacamole without salsa, and you can’t have summer without tomatoes. Tomatoes get their bright red color from lycopene (also in some of the above fruits). They are probably higher in lycopene than any other produce. They have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and regulate fat and cholesterol in the blood. Though there can be a downside to tomatoes. They are in the nightshade family, which causes a negative reaction in a small percentage of people. Foods from this family can cause joint pain and inflammation or other uncomfortable side effects in sensitive individuals.
Another brightly colored food, like most that come in summer, bell peppers are great to throw on the grill or to eat raw dipped in a delicious sauce or dip. Bell peppers are an excellent source of carotenoids which are super anti-inflammatory and powerful anti-oxidants. These are great for your immune system and keeping you healthy. They are very high in vitamin C, which has similar properties and health benefits to the carotenoids. Bell peppers are also in the nightshade family and can lead to unpleasant effects in sensitive people.
These are just a few of the power-hitters on our summer platters. Fortunately, many of the foods that are in season right now are good starts to healthy eating. For more questions about healthy summer foods and how to stay in top-shape for the summer season, call our clinic today to speak with one of our physicians.