Summer is a great time to make changes in your diet or eating plan (we prefer the second term) and branch out to try new foods. Because of the abundance, whether or not you shop at Farmers’ markets, it’s time to try all the great variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables at their peak of perfection. Even better, that produce is loaded with healthful nutrients that can help you lose weight, gain energy and improve your life.
Corn is a food product we probably get too much of. But that’s not the same as summer Sweet Corn. These goodies are in season now through the end of summer. One thing you might not know about sweet corn is that it contains two important antioxidants that help your body deal with the summer sun. The easiest way to prepare it is to buy it still in the husk and put the whole thing, husk and all, into the microwave for two to three minutes. The corn steams in the husk and will be much easier to shuck and remove the threads after it’s cooked. However, if the husk doesn’t surround the whole cob (such as having a strip removed to display the corn) don’t use this method. In that case, you can finish shucking the corn and boiling it for five to ten minutes. Or you can wrap it in aluminum foil and roast it with butter and herbs in the oven or on the grill.
There have been conflicting reports on the benefits (or detriments) of drinking coffee. But one new piece of information might make you want to try an iced coffee drink to beat the summer heat. One recent study showed that drinking one cup of caffeinated coffee a day offered protection against skin cancer. And more coffee provided more protection. Decaf just didn’t seem to do the job.
Available in late summer are tart cherries. These offer a long list of benefits. They are said to help in weight loss. Cherry juice has been found to help with post-workout pain and improve sleep. Compounds in cherries can increase the fat-burning process and decrease fat storage.
Tomatoes are another summer treat. Look for homegrown and heirloom varieties from small producers. You can even grow your own on your balcony or deck. A key nutrient in tomatoes is lycopene, the substance that makes tomatoes red. Like many summer fruits, this substance helps your skin deal with the summer sun. Tomatoes and carrots, as well as other reddish fruits and vegetables, can reduce sunburn by as much as 50%.
Staying hydrated is important in the summer. But you don’t always have to drink water or soda. Medical experts say you should stay away from dehydrating beverages like alcohol. But you don’t have to stay away from water-rich fruits, like watermelon. Some people don’t like this popular melon, but it’s 92% water and loaded with skin-enhancing nutrients. Research shows that water-rich foods keep you more satisfied than water alone without a lot of extra calories.
Another hydrating tip that’s also healthy for you is drinking tea. Hot, cold, black, green, herbal—it doesn’t matter, the benefits are still there. It’s best freshly brewed, but if you keep some in the refrigerator, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to help preserve the antioxidants. Studies show drinking tea regularly helps protect you from Alzheimer’s, diabetes, tooth loss, gum disease, and bone loss.
Berries are a great source of fiber and antioxidants. Raspberries are particularly rich in fiber. Fibers are filling and necessary. It’s also good to help you lose weight. Research shows that those who consume a lot of fiber lose more weight.
If you hunt for and consume these foods in the summer, you’ll be better prepared to face the winter months just a little healthier.