It’s almost summer—that amazing time of year when fresh produce abounds. Did you know that many of the summer fruit and vegetables have secret health benefits? Here are some of my favorites and why they’re a great choice for the summer.
Did you know that corn contains two antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin? Corn acts like natural sunglasses, helping to form macular pigment that filters out some of the sun’s damaging rays. These same antioxidants also help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60.
The tartier the better! Tart cherries deliver a host of health benefits. You may have heard that drinking tart cherry juice can help you get a better night’s sleep and quell post-workout pain. But did you know that compounds in tart cherries may also help you slim down and get leaner? Why? The anthocyanin’s in tart cherries activate a molecule that helps rev up fat burning and decrease fat storage.
There’s no question that sunscreen should be your first line of defense against the blazing summer sun. But eating tomatoes could give you a little extra protection: consuming more lycopene—the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red—may protect your skin from sunburn.
Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your body cool. With watermelon you can hydrate through food rather than drinking water. Watermelon delivers skin-protecting lycopene and is 92 percent water. Research shows that eating foods that are full of water helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories.
Raspberries are a great source of fiber—some of it soluble in the form of pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. One cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber! Did you know that eating more fiber helps prevent weight gain? Add more fiber to your daily intake with fresh raspberries!
Fresh blueberries straight from the berry patch are a special treat! Turns out the antioxidants in them may help ward off muscle fatigue by soaking up the additional free radicals that muscles produce during exercise.