15 Summer Superfoods You Should Be Eating
Take advantage of summer’s seasonal bounty by adding these nutritional powerhouses to your warm-weather diet.
This fragrant herb takes center stage when added to any summer dish, but it flies under the radar when it comes to its impressive nutrition content. “If you have a garden full of basil, savor it for more than its flavor! Basil has antioxidant properties and provides almost 25 percent of the vitamin K a woman needs in a day,” says Marisa Moore, RDN, a dietitian in Atlanta, Georgia. Add to a salad or marinade, sprinkle over berries and ice cream, or muddle into a skinny summer cocktail. Check out the 20 superfoods that could help you lose weight.
Sweet, tangy, and packed with antioxidants, grapes are quickly racking up the science to back up their superfood status. They’re good sources of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and may contribute to strong bones, and a study in Experimental Gerontology found that consuming grapes twice a day for six months protected against metabolic decline in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, plus enriched metabolic activity in areas of the brain related to memory and attention. “Snack on them fresh, frozen, or add to salads, salsas, or smoothies,” says Moore. California grapes are in season from May through January.
These sweet treats are loaded with fiber, folate, and potassium—plus, just ten of them pack in your daily allotment of vitamin C. What’s more, research says consuming strawberries three times a week may slash your risk of suffering a heart attack by 34 percent. Learn 10 more reasons you should be eating more strawberries.
Nothing says “summer” like gnawing on a sugary sweet ear of corn. Though the debate rages on whether it’s a vegetable or a grain, one thing’s for certain—it’s pretty darn good for you. Yellow sweet corn has a bit of protein and fiber, plus magnesium and vitamin B6. Try this time-saving trick that makes your corn on the cob taste amazing.
You don’t need a reason to indulge in this fruit’s creamy green goodness, but here are a few, anyway: Avocados are filled with healthy fats, which help your body absorb vitamins such as E and A, and they also contain fiber to keep you full longer. Add to a salad or salsa, substitute in place of mayo for a sandwich, or simply drizzle with lemon juice and dig in. Try these other foods skinny people always eat too.
Every time you bite into a juicy summer peach, you’re getting a dose of antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and potassium. Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and may aid in muscle recovery after a workout.
Salsa lovers, this is your season! “Chili peppers are packed with capsaicin, which brings the heat but has also been shown to curb appetite and slightly boost metabolism,” says Moore. One study showed they helped people consume less sodium. Chop them up in salads, salsas, scrambled eggs, or dips. Find out why hot peppers might even help you live longer.
Each time you pop one of these quintessential summer fruits, you’re getting a serious dose of antioxidants. Cherries contain compounds that may protect the heart and prevent arthritis pain. Choose the reddest you can find—the pigment that gives cherries their color is actually behind their disease-fighting power.
Bring on the seed spitting competitions! Watermelon is not only a signature fruit of summer, it’s a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C and the powerful antioxidant lycopene. Plus, it’s refreshing for a reason—watermelons are 90 percent water! “Biting into a slice is a sweet way to stay hydrated,” says Moore.
All colors of sweet bell peppers are good sources of vitamin C, as well as some fiber and vitamin B6. Red peppers are especially powerful—they also contain beta-carotene, lycopene, and twice the amount of vitamin C you’d get in a citrus orange, says Moore. Learn which 15 summer superfoods will make your skin glow.
“Sugar snap peas make the perfect poolside snack and work well in a stir-fry too,” says Moore. They are filled with fiber, vitamins K and C, and have more protein than most other vegetables.
Summer squashIrina Rostokina/Shutterstock
Zucchini and yellow squash are what “zoodle” dreams are made of, and they’re also abundant during the hot summer months. They’re excellent sources of vitamin C and antioxidants that contribute to a strong immune system and good eye health. Spiralize them to make pasta healthier, chop them up and add raw to a grain salad, or brush slices with olive oil and grill. Don’t believe the hype over these “superfoods” that can actually make you gain weight.
These bulbs might be tiny and turn your fingers and lips purple, but they’re also mighty. A large study found that blueberries may reduce your risk of heart attack, likely because of their antioxidant power.
Swiss chardDUSAN ZIDAR/Shutterstock
Though it’s a dark leafy green that may look like it belongs in winter, Swiss chard actually reaches its peak during summer. It’s also packed with antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium. Add to your salad mix, or use it as a sandwich or burger wrap. Once the weather cools down, try these 13 fall superfoods you should have in your diet.
The Ayurvedic world uses mint to ease gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion or stomach pain. Add a few sprigs to homemade iced tea, sprinkle on salads, or add to any dessert for a pop of freshness. Here are 50 more of the healthiest foods you can get in a supermarket.