The Summer Superfoods You Should Add To Your Diet

Health
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Alexandra Lozovschi

We can't imagine summertime fun without the refreshing taste of watermelon. The delicious fruit has long become a staple of the hot season and has more to offer than its sweet flavor.

According to Best Health Magazine, watermelon is the perfect hydrating summer food. It's made up of 92 percent water and 6 percent natural sugar, the latter of which helps replenish the electrolytes that we lose through excessive sweating.

Watermelon is also a good source of potassium, which helps with fluid balance, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C. Not to mention it's rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives it its red color and packs a slew of health benefits, including sun protection, improved heart health, and a lower risk of certain types of cancer, per Healthline.

Not sure how to best savor watermelon?

"A smoothie made with watermelon, coconut water, lime juice, and mint leaves is an ideal cooler on a hot day," suggests Oprah.com. "Also try serving wedges of the fruit at cocktail hour with a light sprinkling of shaved Pecorino Romano and black pepper, or put it on skewers with shrimp and grill."

Here are four more summer superfoods for you to enjoy.

Blueberries

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Blueberries are another superfood that's in season and comes with a wealth of health and beauty benefits you shouldn't be passing up on.

They're chock-full of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have anti-aging properties and do wonders for the skin and hair, while also combating inflammation throughout the body. These are the compounds that give blueberries their deep rich color and have been shown to help improve brain function, enhance mood, and fight off cancer cells.

Looking for delicious blueberry recipes?

Use them to make a blueberry peanut butter smoothie, blackberry bread pudding, or a brie appetizer with blueberries, recommends The Healthy.

They "also add a sweet kick to grilled pork," Oprah.com offers a helpful tip.

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Tomatoes

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If you're looking for an abundant source of lycopene, look no further than the humble tomato. The redder the tomatoes are, the more antioxidants they contain and the greater the health benefits for you.

Aside from protecting the skin from harmful UV rays, lycopene also helps slow down the process of arterial aging.

While it's true that tomato sauce yields more health benefits than the raw fruit -- it takes 165 raw tomatoes to equal the health perks of just 10 tablespoons of tomato sauce, per Oprah.com -- don't let summer pass by without savoring some delicious tomato salads.

“Since lycopene is fat-soluble, add a healthy fat such as olive oil to tomatoes to boost absorption,” dietitian Cheryl Mussatto tells The Healthy.

Red Bell Peppers

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Summer is the season for fresh fruit and veggies, so don't be surprised to find plenty of them on this list. One vegetable that dietitians agree is a seasonal must is red bell peppers.

These are the mature versions of green bell peppers and offer significantly more benefits than their younger counterparts. They contain 11 times more beta-carotene and provide 240 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C -- as opposed to just 60 percent, for green peppers.

One added benefit of peppers regardless of color is that they're low in calories. One cup of peppers has around 25 calories, so feel free to munch away!

Enjoy the crunchy veg by dipping it in hummus, add it to your grilled cheese sandwich, or roast it and throw together a colorful salad.

"Or try them in vegetarian sloppy joes or sautéed with ginger, garlic, and chili for a vibrant side," says Oprah.com.

Beets

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Beets might not be the first thing you pick up at the supermarket but here's why you should put them in your shopping cart. This Dwight Schrute-approved summer superfood is low in calories -- a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beetroot has 44 calories -- but is very rich in vitamins and minerals.

In fact, beets contain a bit of almost all the vitamins and minerals that you need, including vitamin C, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, and iron, per Healthline.

In addition, beets are a dependable source of fiber. But perhaps the most important compound in beets is betacyanin, a phytonutrient that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox properties. It's also what gives this veg its distinctive hue.

Think you don't like beets?

"Try pairing them with contrasting ingredients," such as salty, creamy cheese or toasted nuts, suggests Oprah.com.

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