Summer is not far away and when it comes to summer we all know to put on our jandals, wear wide brimmed hats and remember the golden rule - Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap but did you know it's also a good time to change up your diet? Being outdoors more often—and sweating—ups your risk for health problems such as dehydration, skin sensitivities, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
The simple (and delicious) solution? Eat local, in-season fruits. Their nutrients are at their peak in the summer.
While tomatoes are filled with antioxidants and Vitamin C, they also contain beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene, which can protect from you from chronic diseases—especially cancer.
Part of the summer squash family, zucchini contains a fiber called pectin, which is linked to increasing heart health and lowering cholesterol.
As its name implies, this fruit is a hydration hero, and fluids are exactly what you need when the heat is on. Watermelon's high water content keeps you cool and hydrated. That same high water content will also keep you feeling full, which could curb cravings. As an added summer bonus, Watermelon also contains lycopene, which protects skin cells from sun damage
The sweet citrus fruit is rich in potassium, a nutrient that's crucial in the summer. You lose potassium through sweat, which puts you at risk for muscle cramps. So, eating them replenishes your supply and keeps muscle cramps away. . Oranges are also about 80% water, so eating a few juicy slices will keep you hydrated during your sweatiest summer days.
Protein-packed, portion-controlled and easy to tote in your beach bag (just freeze a cup before you go, so it stays cool until you're ready to snack), yogurt is made for summer eating. The protein satisfies your growling tummy, which will keep you from overloading on salty, high-calorie snacks instead. Yogurt also adds a dose of probiotics, beneficial bacteria that keeps your digestive system running smoothly.
5. CELERY AND FENNEL
Nothing is worse than feeling 'puffy' when you're heading to the beach - right? " Well, celery and fennel may help. They act as diuretics, helping you lose excess water weight without causing dehydration. How? The ingredients in these two veggies stimulate your kidneys, causing them to flush waste and extra fluid from your body, which beats bloat in your tummy.
6. APPLES, FIGS, AND PEARS
These foods are high in fiber too. Keep the skin on apples and pears for the maximum nutritional impact. Be sure to wash thoroughly before eating or, even better, opt for organic. Two medium-sized dried figs contain more than 1.5 grams of fiber.
7. SALADS WITH DARK, LEAFY GREENS
Leave steamed veggies behind and fill up on fresh, raw spinach and kale come summer to save your skin. Carotenoids in orange and dark-green foods, which your body converts to vitamin A, protect skin from sun damage. They decrease sensitivity to UV light and mend flaky and dry skin, strengthening the skin's defenses against damaging rays. Spruce up your salad with other high-carotenoid sources, like carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, salmon to make an even healthier meal.
8. STRAWBERRIES AND BLUEBERRIES
Sweet, juicy berries are filled with flavonoids, powerful disease fighters found in many fruits and vegetables. Among their other benefits are they increase blood flow to skin and decrease sensitivity to light, which improves skin's appearance, structure and texture. With more daylight hours and time spent in the sun, that's key. Other great sources of skin-boosting flavonoids: bananas, citrus fruits, broccoli, artichokes, walnuts, pistachios, cashew, dill and thyme.
Eating nuts as part of your summer diet may be good for your heart. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. And of course they're a great snack food — inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack for that summer picnic. Snacking on a handful of almonds, cashews, and peanuts will help increase your fill of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are thought to lower bad cholesterol levels.
10. GREEN TEA
And finally, if you're looking for drinks more exciting than water to keep you hydrated, you may want to go green. Green tea is the perfect way to supplement your water intake when it's super-hot outside. Studies have suggested that green tea may be helpful in fighting cancer and heart disease, lowering cholesterol, revving your metabolism and even keeping dementia at bay. And if sipping a hot drink in a hot month isn't your cup of...well, tea, try it on ice—the cooler temp doesn't compromise its nutritional benefits.
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