We all crave that time of year when we get to show off some skin and enjoy being outdoors in the warm, sunny weather, specially in California! However, the best part about summer is that it brings us a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. And they’re all filled with amazing health benefits. Read on to find out .
How can you go wrong with a fruit that’s 92% water, tastes like summer and smells even better? Watermelons help keep you feeling full longer because they’re called hydrating foods, which means you curb your hunger and eat less. It also works wonders in lowering blood pressure levels, especially with overweight individuals. In addition, they contain high amounts of antioxidants, as well as vitamins C, A and B6. It has high levels of lycopene, which fights against the damage of free radicals. The best part? It’s 44 calories per cup!
Peaches, Nectarines, Plums and Apricots (aka stone fruits)
Colorful, juicy and delicious, stone fruits help protect against diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. Peaches contain beta-carotene, which keeps your skin glowing and bright. They also contain iron, potassium, fiber as well as vitamins A and C. Plums are rich in nutrients, as well as phytochemicals, which help reduce the risk of many diseases and health conditions. And as an added bonus, prunes help ward off bone loss, due to their high levels of potassium and vitamin K. Apricots are rich in vitamin A, which protects the eyes, and potassium.
High in bromelain – a proteolytic enzyme, pineapples help with the digestion process. They’re also an excellent source of antioxidants, which means they ward off free radicals and protect the body from their harmful effects, while reducing the risk of serious inflammatory diseases.
The color of these round, succulent fruits is a clear indication of how powerful its antioxidants are and how much protection they offer against heart disease, mainly due to their high levels of pectin which helps balance blood cholesterol levels. Cherries are also great health-boosters since they contain melatonin, which is known as the “sleep hormone.” Melatonin is secreted naturally by the body during the night, but foods rich in melatonin can help induce a restful sleep. It’s also a wide-spectrum, potent antioxidant. Moreover, melatonin helps with the conversion process of turning fat cells, which collect under our skin and around our organs, into brown fat cells, which work at burning calories instead of storing them.
Mangoes and Figs
Sweet and savory, mangoes pack a great amount of fiber, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants. They also help with the digestion process as well as curb your hunger by filling you up for longer. Figs is a great summer snack and are packed with potassium and fiber. They’re also low in calories and fat.
Like watermelon, grapes have a high water content, which makes you feel full and satiated. They also help protect against disease, such as Type 2 diabetes. They’re also packed with antioxidants and inflammatory properties, phytochemicals and vitamin C.
Loaded with folate, potassium, and vitamin C, this versatile summer vegetable helps regulate blood pressure and contains antioxidants that protect cells from damage. A cup of shredded zucchini can be incorporated into any dish, sweet or salty. And since zucchinis contain 95% water, they’re low in calories, have zero fat and cholesterol, and are rich in nutrients. One cup of shredded zucchini provides you with 35% of your daily vitamin C needs, and is only 20 calories.
These delicious, yellow jewels contain natural two natural compounds, lutein, and zeaxanthin that protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. They filter out damaging free radicals that can lead to negative effects on your eyes, such as cataracts. Corn also curbs your appetite, boosts immunity, and helps control blood sugar levels.
Rich in an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic-acid, studies show that tomatoes help fight against high blood pressure levels. The substance surrounding the seeds contains salicylates, which prevent clotting of the blood. Tomatoes also help preserve nerve and brain tissue, as well as promote the production of collagen in the skin to help keep your skin wrinkle-free while reducing the appearance of fine lines. Studies show that men who regularly consume tomato-based foods are less likely to suffer from prostate cancer.
Happy summer! And spring, winter and fall as well.