So you’ve made it past winter. Past the comfort foods, the mac and cheese, the long cold nights on the couch the endless turkey leftovers, the pumpkin spice lattes, the pumpkin spice potato chips, the pumpkin spice nut muffins and the pumpkin flavored ice cream, and now it’s summer. Time to turn over a new leaf, and hopefully one with a vegetable attached. Summer is time to get healthy, and that means eating healthy. Here are some great healthy summer foods to set you off on the path to health.
It wouldn’t be summer without the taste of watermelon, and the added perks: the fruit can also help keep your memory sharp, your body cool, and your mood balanced. The great thing about watermelon is that it’s 92 percent water, which not only keeps your body hydrated but can also help to keep your weight down. Research shows that the water in the melon keeps you full without adding calories. Another watermelon plus: the lycopene will protect your skin from the sun.
Ah, sweet corn, a must for your summer barbecue, and get this, it actually may be nature’s sunglasses. The antioxidants in corn, lutein and zezxanthin form a macular pigment that actually helps to filter out the sun’s more damaging rays while helping to lower the risk of age related macular degeneration.
What better way to start your summer morning than with an ice cold glass of coffee? Better yet, in doing so, you may be reducing your risk of skin cancer. According to a study of more than 9,300 women published in European Journal of Cancer Prevention, those who drank a daily cup of caffeinated coffee lowered their risk of non-melanoma cancer development by about 10%, and the more they drank, the lower the risk.
It’s cherry eating season and if you’re looking to slim down, you may want to do a whole lot of it this summer. Scientists at the University of Michigan Health System found that rats who supplemented a high-fat diet with tart cherry powder gained less weight and body fat than those who got the same amount of calories from carbohydrates. Apparently, the anthocyanins in tart cherries activate a molecule that boosts fat burning in the body and decreases fat storage. Another tart cherry bonus: drinking tart cherry juice can help you sleep better and relieve pain after a taxing workout.
Not only do tomatoes make a lovely addition to a summer salad or sandwich, they can also help to keep you from sunburn. Apparently, the lycopene, which is the carotenoid responsible for giving tomatoes their red color, can also protect skin from sunburn. In fact, according to one study, participants exposed to UV light had almost 50% less reddening after eating 2 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste for 10 to 12 weeks.
What are you eating this summer? Let us know how you’re staying full and healthy this season. We want to know!