Fragrant colorful sweet fruits and vine ripened vegetables are in abundance in summer, but is it possible that some foods are not exactly ideal for us in the warm months?
Let’s take a look at the best and the worst summertime has to offer.
1.Berries - Proanthocyanadins, found in darker berries with black or blue skin, are what protects the berry from sun damage, and they work the same way for us, protecting our cells from free radical damage. They can restrict the growth of cancer cells, reduce inflammation, and slow or reverse neurological degeneration. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, which supports collagen production, helps repair damaged tissue, and has been linked to the prevention of skin cancer.
2. Tomatoes - There’s nothing better than a vine ripened tomato, but that’s the key. Tomatoes that are imported or sold out of season are not vine ripened and lack full nutritional value. A healthy tomato is packed with lycopene, vitamins A and C, and folic acid.
3. Cucumbers - The peak season is May through August. If you buy organic, eat the skin. They’re loaded with water, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, and one cuke has about 60% of your vitamin K needs.
4. Spicy summer greens - Swiss chard, dandelion, arugula, and watercress all have a distinctive bite, and their best season is summer. They’re full of protein, iron, B vitamins, and fiber, with vitamins A and C to repair cells. They contain lots of water, and are low in sodium and calories so you can eat as much as you want.
5. Herbs - Oregano, mint, basil, cilantro, lavender, rosemary, and thyme all do well in warm soil and plenty of sunshine. These little powerhouses contain unique properties that are antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal. Use them in teas and infusions, in cooking, chew them raw or add to salads. When they start to wilt, hang them or snip leaves from stems, let them dry and continue to use.
1. Shellfish - The saying is “Never eat shellfish in a month without an ‘R’.” - May, June, July, and August. Red tides, algae blooms, and warm weather can spread toxins among oysters, clams and mussels. Summer months are also when they spawn, which renders them unpleasantly un-tasty.
2. Corn - In its natural state, this 4th of July favorite contains modest amounts of some nutrients. Unfortunately, the great majority of it is grown by Monsanto Corp. It’s been genetically altered to resist their herbicide Round-Up so that it won’t die when everything else around it does (weeds and insects). If Round-Up kills bugs and scary warning label, why would we want to eat it? Even organic corn is a relatively nutrient deficient starch, so opt for true veggies instead.
3. Sports drinks - You may be super active in the summer, but sports drinks that replace electrolytes are loaded with sugar. Instead, drink coconut water or make your own electrolyte replacement drink with water, honey, pink salt, and lemon juice. For a vegetable version, mix tomatoes, celery, carrots, parsley, greens, onion and garlic in a blender.
4. Ice pops - If you’re thirsty, ice pops are not the way to go. They contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring, and dyes.
5. BBQ Ribs - BBQ sauce is laden with white and brown sugar. Make your own sauce substituting applesauce or pureed peaches and cinnamon for sugar.
The bounty of summer is there for the picking. Choose natural foods in season that are fresh and ripe, and pastured meat from animals that eat tasty summer grasses. These are the foods that will keep you healthy as you continue to achieve your goals during the Summertime Challenge.
The 2017 Lurong Living Summertime Challenge is all about being equipped to change your life through a foundation of nutrition. We invite you to join us for our 5 week challenge, where you will not only learn about food, your diet, and how it affects you, but you will be giving the opportunity to put your new knowledge into practice and be rewarded for it. Register here.