Superfoods to the Rescue: Seven Summer Superfoods that Help Fight and Prevent Diseases
It's a bird, it's a plane…..it’s superfoods! While superfoods may not fly or wear capes, they can still be the hero of your plate. Summer is here and the time for exploring the fresh taste of in-season fruits and veggies is now! Whether you are lounging on the beach with your favorite novel or hanging out in the park with your loved ones, celebrate summer with superfoods. We went hunting for seven of the healthiest foods in-season right now, so you don’t have to.
Berries get their vibrant color from anthocyanin. Anthocyanin contains antioxidants that fight the cell-damaging molecules that could lead to chronic diseases. Berries, especially blackberries and blueberries, become more affordable during the summer months and are perfect with yogurt for breakfast or mixed into a fresh salad for lunch and dinner.
Beets are often underrated, but they deserve more credit. Beets are low in calories and impressively high in vitamins and minerals. Beet juice has been found to help regulate blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, stroke, or heart disease. Beets are also known for aiding brain health, digestive health, athletic performance, inflammation, and weight loss. Beets are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. Making your own beetroot juice is a fun and fresh way to stay hydrated and heart healthy this summer. However, avoid heavily processed and pre-bottled beet juices that contain a lot of sugars and additives.
Tomatoes in the summer are just bursting with flavor and health benefits. Cooked or raw, tomatoes are extremely versatile and deliver a punch of lycopene, vitamin A and C, potassium, and so much more. Research has shown that tomatoes can improve heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol and reducing blood pressure. Add tomatoes to salads, sandwiches, breakfast omelettes, or eat them plain as a snack.
Asparagus has tons of nutrients and very few calories. It’s an excellent source of vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and bone health. Asparagus is high in three essential flavonoids that have been found to lower blood pressure. Purple asparagus contains anthocyanins (the same antioxidant that gives berries their vibrant color), which are important for reducing the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Most people don’t realize that asparagus can be eaten raw. Dip asparagus in hummus for a healthy snack on the go. When picking out asparagus in the grocery store, look for a batch that is firm and bright green or deep purple.
Peach contains 330 milligrams of potassium. That's three times the potassium in a banana! Blood Pressure UK reports that potassium-rich foods can lower blood pressure and regulate sodium levels. Local farmers markets are overflowing with fresh peaches during the summer months. Grilling peaches brings out their natural sweetness for a nutritionally dense summer treat.
While eggplants, or aubergines, are commonly seen as a vegetable, they are technically a fruit. (Fruits come from flowering plants and contain seeds.) Eggplants are also packed with vitamins and minerals. The purple color, like purple asparagus and berries, comes from anthocyanins, which are proven to help reduce the risk of heart disease and decrease heart attack severity. Eggplants are a low-calorie replacement for many high-calorie ingredients. For a home-cooked family meal, make an eggplant lasagna (swap out pasta for thinly sliced eggplant!). You can also roast or grill eggplant for a smoky and summery, barbecue flavor.
When reaching for leafy greens to make that salad, remember: the darker the green, the more nutrient-dense it will be. Substitute romaine for iceberg lettuce, and toss in some kale or spinach. If you are feeling adventurous, we love swiss chard and bok choy as well. These greens are packed full of vitamins and minerals, like folate and magnesium, carotenoids, and yes, antioxidants. Studies show that magnesium-rich foods, like kale, can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.For a little variety in your diet, try sauteeing your dark leafy greens with garlic or sneaking a handful into a fruit smoothie for an extra boost of nutrients in the morning.An easy way to remember these seven superfoods: eat the rainbow. Fresh produce with dark, vibrant colors will pack the strongest punch of nutrients. Take control of your health, and let these superfoods save the day, every day this summer.
Superfoods, just like Superman, help fight the bad guys. In this case, the bad guys are diseases. The American Heart Association recommends eating four to five servings a day of fruits and vegetables to fuel a stronger and healthier body. Mix these superfoods with regular physical activity, in consultation with your doctor, to help you feel super, too.
The Let’s Be Well Healthy Heart boxes come with a “Cooking with Color” cookbook packed full of inspiring new recipes that make superfoods the hero of the meal. If you make a recipe with any of these superfoods, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag #LetsBeWellSuperFoods! You can also keep track of your superfood intake in your Lets Be Well health journal.
#LetsBeWell #AARP #HeartDisease #Diabetes #Superfoods #health #cooking #summer #antioxidants #Seasonal #LetsBeWellSuperFoods
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