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The healthiest summer foods

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

By: Betsy Hansen


Celebrate summer by eating healthy! That doesn’t mean eating boring food. Summer brings colorful, light and wholesome food to our fingertips. Here are five...

 

blueberries

 

Berries – Summer’s harvest brings raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, just to name a few!

 

You can make frozen yogurt at home, and in less time than it takes to run to your local froyo shop. Freeze a few cups of strawberries and add in a bit of honey, plain yogurt and lemon juice. Voilà, homemade strawberry frozen yogurt! Get the full recipe here.

 

At just 84 calories per cup, blueberries can help improve your memory and brain function, as well as lower cholesterol and naturally regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. The antioxidants battle free radicals to improve collagen production and improve skin tone. Their anti-inflammatory assets can also reduce wrinkles and ease arthritis and achy joints. Here’s a recipe for an easy blueberry pie.

 

Fresh salads – Do you plant lettuce in your garden? If not, it’s time to try it. There is an abundance of different types of leafy greens to plant: romaine, spinach, buttercrunch, bib, oak leaf, kale and Swiss chard, just to name a few. The good news is, lettuces can continue to grow all summer long. Along with countless benefits, leafy greens all contain varying amounts of fiber, which can maintain a healthy digestive tract.

 

peppers

 

Spicy peppers – Hot, hot, hot! Weight loss, appetite suppression, even relief from congestion – all things spicy food can help with. The secret to spicy peppers: capsaicin – a special compound that has many health benefits. There is actually a capsaicin measurement of heat. Jalapenos contain about 2,500 to 8,000 heat units, the “Carolina Reaper” pepper has a whopping 2,200,000 heat units; you’ll find banana peppers and pimento at the bottom of the scale with 100 to 900 heat units.

 

So what does this mean? This component – capsaicin – revs up your body’s adrenalin, similar to how your body reacts against stress. As well as adding extra flavor to your food, capsaicin may help you burn a few calories per meal. This summer, begin adding more jalapenos into your dishes!

 

Tomatoes – Did you know tomato paste can give you protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays? A 2002 study states, “Protection against UV light-induced erythema can be achieved by ingestion of a commonly consumed dietary source of lycopene.” Lycopene naturally makes tomatoes red and has many advantages for your health – including reducing the risk of stroke.

 

According to the Harvard Medical School, “Lycopene, in addition to its ability to attack free radicals, may also reduce inflammation and cholesterol, improve immune function, and prevent blood from clotting.”

 

Do you grow tomatoes in your garden? In recent years, heirloom tomatoes have grown more popular. Slicing into their skin is a treat for the eyes as much as the taste buds; the colors dance over the fleshy insides and each breed has a distinctive flavor. Learn more in the infographic below.

 

heirloom tomato guide

 

Plain old water – Hydration is important in every season, but especially in the dog days of summer. Strive to make water consumption a goal, in any form. Consult your doctor about the right amount of water you should be drinking. A few ideas to consume more water:

 

  • Make a tally of how many glasses you drink throughout your day
  • Infuse your water with colorful fruit like mango or kiwi
  • Dilute your juices with water

 

What healthy food do you love to eat during the summer months? Do you grow a garden? Leave a comment here!

 

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BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.