The 10 Best Summer SuperFoods:
Eating by the season is a key aspect to healthy nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are at their nutritional peak during their prime growing season. Before the advent of refrigeration and the mass production and storage of foods everyone had to eat by the availability of the season. This is natural and our body is innately designed to eat in this matter.
Different seasons have their own unique qualities and energies. Summer foods tend to be lighter and cooler. They also should be packed of fluid and hydration boosting minerals to take on the heat & humidity of the summer.
Top Summer Season Produce:
Here are some of my top food suggestions for eating by the season this summer.
1) Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. Go out and pick them yourself or purchase organic berries (fresh or frozen) at the store
2) Avocados – We LOVE these!
3) Bell Peppers – These provide great flavor, phytonutrients and color to your meal. Be sure to avoid them if you are nightshade sensitive though
4) Basil – This tastes amazing in pesto’s, salads and on meat dishes.
5) Cucumbers & Celery– Very cooling and refreshing – great dipped in guacamole or in a fresh green juice
6) Cilantro/Parsley/Dandelion: Great bitter herbs that enhance liver detoxification. Great in pesto, sauces, salads and green juices
7) Lemons & Limes: Great cooling, liver detoxifying super fruits. Great squeezed in water, on salads and in juice recipes.
8) Carrots & Beets: Nutrient rich root vegetables that enhance skin and gut function. Fantastic sources of anti-oxidants and microflora enhancing fibers. Great to use for salads, juicing and steamed with cinnamon on top.
9) Tomatoes: Who doesn’t love a juicy tomato in the summertime! Also, great for adding color and flavor to your salads, soups and sauces. Avoid if nightshade sensitive.
10) Radishes: These are loaded with good fiber, water and powerful sulfur compounds that help to detoxify the gut, liver and improve skin function. I munch on these raw, but they are also great on salads or dipped in guacamole and pesto’s.
This amazing fruit is very high in healthy oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fat that helps increase fat metabolism. It is also rich in the powerful carotenoid anti-oxidants lutein and zeaxanthin as well as Vitamin E (tocopherol) (1, 2).
These anti-oxidants decrease oxidative stress and allow for a healthier cellular environment. Other critical components include ionic potassium and folate. These elements are alkaline forming in the body, helping to buffer acidic wastes that accumulate within the human tissue and bloodstream.
Avocados are a terrific complement to a vegetable based meal. Most vegetables, particularly in their raw state, contain a high amount of carotenoid based anti-oxidants. Studies have shown that these anti-oxidants are lipophilic (fat-loving) and are absorbed best in the body when combined with a healthy fat such as oleic acid (3, 4).
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in March 2005 showed that adding avocados to salad increased absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when avocado-free salad was eaten (5).
This summer superfood is loaded with antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanins. These nutrients powerfully neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues. In addition, anthocyanins have been shown to improve capillary integrity and enhance the effects of Vitamin C (6, 7).
The anti-oxidant power of blueberries has been shown to be particularly useful in stabilizing brain function and protecting the neural tissue from oxidative stress (8, 9). The riper the berries the more anti-oxidant power they contain. To assess the ripeness of the berries look at the color.
Riper berries are a darker blue. Blueberry season is mid-late summer, June – August. Most frozen berries are picked at maximal ripeness and frozen (10).
One of the best foods for your skin, joints, & energy levels. Cucumbers are loaded with the mineral silica, which is an essential component for healthy connective tissue (muscles, ligaments, cartilage, bone, & skin). It is also full of ionic potassium, magnesium, & vitamin C which give it a powerful alkalizing effect within the body.
Cucumbers are also particularly rich in fluids that hydrate the skin, joints, and tissues. The combination of alkalizing elements, electrolytes, & fluids make it one of the world’s best foods for enhancing energy levels. Cucumbers are also great for stabilizing blood pressure and stimulating the body’s natural detoxification process (11, 12).
Dr Jockers Suggestions:
Here are my favorite ways to consume these summertime superfoods! Would love to hear your favorite ways in the comments box below.
1. Enjoy Some Guacamole: Utilize avocados in creamy, home-made guacamole recipes or simply slice on to a salad.
2. Make a Shake or Smoothie: Frozen blueberries are a terrific base for a cooling & satisfying shake.
3. Cucumber Salad: Slice cucumbers and add apple cider vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and herbs and spices for a great mid-day snack or meal. You can also try the rainbow salad
4. Green Juice: Make a green juice with cucumbers and some other summer fruits and veggies such as parsley, cilantro, spinach, apple or pear and lemon/lime.
5. Enjoy Some Tasty Pesto: Make a great tasting pesto that the whole family will love!
6. Raspberry Cream: This is one of my favorite summertime dishes! Try making this raspberry cream with chocolate and try it without chocolate, using vanilla flavoring instead.
7. Strawberry Chocolate Mousse: This is a really fun recipe the family will love and enjoy!
8. Make Some Salsa! This recipe uses cilantro and lime to provide an amazing salsa experience!
10. Chocolate Pudding: Enjoy one of my favorite dishes – SuperCharged Chocolate pudding that uses avocado as the base.