There couldn’t be a more perfect time than summer to give your diet an overhaul. Eating healthily through the summer months is easy with a whole range of easy-to-grab, in-season fruits, salads and vegetables available to make simple and delicious summery meals. Take full advantage of summer’s nutrient-rich foods and you’ll look and feel your best all the way through to the autumn.
The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables are impressive. Increase the proportion of plant foods you eat and you’ll be decreasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Here are 5 nutrient-packed foods you should definitely be making the most of in your summer eating plan.
1 – Tomatoes
Summer tomatoes are sweet, juicy and delicious. They’re good for your health too. Rich in Vitamin C, tomatoes are also loaded with lycopene – an antioxidant with a list of amazing benefits. Most notably, lycopene is known for its role in preventing and slowing several types of cancer.
2 – Courgettes
Sometimes known as zucchini, courgettes are part of the summer squash family and are rich in a fibre called pectin. Pectin is known to improve arterial health and reduce inflammation. It helps improve cardiovascular health and to naturally lower cholesterol. Courgettes are also a great source of manganese, potassium, vitamin C and energising B vitamins. Courgettes have a low glycemic load, which makes this summer vegetable (technically a fruit) a favourite for anyone looking to cut down on carbs, keep blood sugars balanced, and lose weight.
3 – Watermelon
The summer hydration hero, watermelon is as its name suggests high in water content. Packed with lycopene, a critical nutrient for fighting free radical damage and known for giving many fruit and vegetables their deep pick or red colour, watermelon boosts the immune system. Its high water content helps to detoxify the body. Watermelon is an alkaline food, which helps to protect the body from disease by reducing inflammation.
4 – Celery
Celery is full of dietary fibre and antioxidants and is a great booster for the digestive system. It has a diuretic effect on the body, which essentially means the kidneys flush out more toxins. The process reduces uric acid and stimulates urine production, making it a great preventative food for anyone who suffers regularly from urine infections. The diuretic effect also helps to reduce bloating, so it’s great for getting your body in shape for the beach. Celery contains a unique compound called 3-n-butylphthalide (BuPh) known to have cholesterol-reducing power.
5 – Dark, leafy greens
Protect your skin from sun damage by upping your intake of dark green salad leaves. Beta-carotenoids in dark-green foods are converted by your body to vitamin A, which helps to protect your skin against damage from the sun. Spinach, watercress and summer kale are great examples of dark, leafy greens and are rich in vitamins B, C and K and packed with calcium, magnesium and potassium. Full of phytonutrients, these nutrient-packed little leaves are the ultimate summer powerhouse food source.