It’s officially summer, which means longer days, weekend trips to the beach, and grilling season. While everyone may love a burger or hot dog straight off the grill, they’re not exactly the healthiest choice of summer fare. The good news is there are so many healthy summer foods that are great alternatives.
Best Foods for Summer
Is it really even summer without watermelon? Living up to its name, watermelon is over 90% water, which makes it a great way to help stay hydrated while out in the heat all day. Watermelon is also full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s packed with vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium, and antioxidants like lycopene – an antioxidant that may have cancer-fighting potential. All these nutrients may have anti-inflammatory effects and have linked watermelon and heart health.
Avocados have become a versatile fan favorite. Avocados are bursting with nutrition that makes them great for heart and brain health. Full of monosaturated fats, avocados help promote blood flow, which is beneficial for the brain. They’re also full of folate, vitamins B, C, and E, and potassium, making avocados a great food for helping to lower blood pressure. Try whipping up some guacamole for your next cookout or start your summer mornings with avocado toast.
Corn has gotten a bad rap lately, but it’s not as bad as you may think. Without any toppings, an ear of corn has about 100 calories and 3 grams of fiber. This fiber can help promote the growth of “good” bacteria in your gut – and a healthy gut can contribute to a healthy brain. Corn is also full of lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds that help promote healthy vision. So, enjoy that grilled cob or add corn to your salad and salsa this summer.
Any kind of berry is a healthy choice, but blueberries in particular are full of brain-healthy flavonoids. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant that may help protect the brain against oxidative stress. Blueberries are also a great anti-inflammatory and some studies have linked them to reversing the signs of brain aging. Berries, in general, are also full of fiber – just 1 cup of raspberries packs 8 grams of fiber.
Fish is already a healthy alternative to processed meat like hot dogs, but as an added bonus, grilling is one of the healthiest ways to prepare fish too. If you’re looking for heart- and brain-healthy omega-3s, opt for albacore tuna, wild salmon, or sardines. Toss them on the grill with some olive oil and lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a healthy protein.
Summer is the perfect time to experiment with new foods. All kinds of produce are in season during summer so hit up your local farmers market and see what you can find there. You might just find a new favorite food.
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Herr, Laurie. “Is Corn Healthy or Not? 5 Myths About Sweet Corn Busted.” Retrieved from http://www.eatingwell.com/article/111076/is-corn-healthy-or-not-5-myths-about-sweet-corn-busted/
Jennings, Kerri-Ann. “8 Healthiest Summer Foods.” Retrieved from https://www.foodnetwork.com/grilling/healthy/photos/healthiest-summer-foods
Jennings, Kerri-Ann. (2018, August 9). “Top 9 Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon.” Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/watermelon-health-benefits
Toback, Rebecca. (2018, December 12). “17 Best and Worst Foods of Summer.” Retrieved from https://www.health.com/food/17-best-and-worst-foods-of-summer?slide=103545#103545