‘Cool’ health foods to eat this summer

By: Bel Marra Health | General Health | Tuesday, June 09, 2015 - 04:30 AM

Foods SummerIt’s hot, it’s humid and sticky! Sometimes the days of summer can bring on serious heat and so the goal is to stay as cool as a cucumber to get by. There are numerous ways we can stay cool in the summer. From wearing lighter clothing, to dipping our toes in a pool these are just some effective summer-cooling tips.

But one easy way to cool down is to eat some cooling foods.

Many varieties of foods start growing in the summery months not only making them fresher but they can be quite cooling so if you’re looking for foods to eat in the summer, try some of these healthy summer foods either on their own or together in some delicious recipes.

10 Cool foods to eat in summer

nutritional facts and health benefits of watermelon1. Watermelon: With or without the seeds, watermelon is fresh, juicy and definitely can keep you cool. As a healthy summer food watermelon has been shown to help with blood pressure, can aid in digestion, help with glowing skin and, best of all, keep us hydrated. Staying hydrated, especially when it’s hot, is vital to ward off heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses. Additionally, staying well hydrated keeps us feeling cooler for longer.

Want a delicious way to eat watermelon? Think Greek: Add mint, feta cheese and watermelon with some balsamic dressing for a fresh, cooling side dish to a summer BBQ.

2. Cucumber: The phrase “cool as a cucumber” didn’t just come out of nowhere. Cucumbers are cool foods to eat in the summer. In fact, cucumbers come from the same family as watermelons, meaning they have high water content as well as being a good source of vitamin K – beneficial as an anti-inflammatory.

Cucumbers are quite versatile so they can be added to just about any dish. If you’re looking for coolness, pair cucumbers and tomatoes together, sprinkle with oregano and olive oil and you have a fresh and delicious salad.

healthy foods in summer3. Strawberries: Don’t be confused by the name, strawberries aren’t actually berries, but that doesn’t make them any less cool or delicious. In season strawberries can be found in abundance and you can easily grow them in your backyard as well. As a healthy food in summer, strawberries pack vitamin C which is essential for good overall health. The catch though? Strawberries can be grown with high amounts of pesticides and have been added to the Environmental Working Group’s pesticide-alert “Dirty Dozen” list, so buy organic when you can.

Try this fresh idea: One (or two!) scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with some freshly cut strawberries. The combination is definitely cool.

4. Eggplant: This cooling vegetable is a great food to eat in summer. Not only does it have antioxidants which can aid in cholesterol, eggplant is low in calories and carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber, making it a great fit in just about any diet. Eggplant also provides essential nutrients like vitamin K, C, B6, copper, magnesium, potassium and folate, making it quite the healthy food for summer.

For an easy summertime recipe, slice up some eggplant and drizzle them with olive oil and light salt. Grill them up on the BBQ and cut into smaller strips once done. They also pair nicely with grilled zucchini for added coolness and freshness.

5. Tomatoes: These are wonderfully cool foods to eat in the summer. Tomatoes offer many nutrients and antioxidants making them a healthy summer food. It’s been said that enjoying tomatoes can help ward off sunburns, too! Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School examined tomato consumption along with prostate cancer risk and found that enjoying this healthy food for summer could lower your risk.

Think Italian when compiling your fresh tomato recipe. Alternate slices of tomatoes with slices of mozzarella. Either drizzle with olive oil or balsamic vinegar, and top with some fresh basil for a cool appetizer.

citrus food for summer6. Citrus fruits: Lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits are all great foods to eat in summer. These citrus fruits promote detoxification and can make water less “boring” to encourage you to drink more of it. Although lemons and limes are sour on their own, oranges and grapefruits can be eaten daily for refreshing taste and a boost in vitamin C.

The easiest way to get the benefits from citrus fruits is to slice them up and add them to your water. Drinking a glass of lemon water every morning has also been shown to help with weight loss – who isn’t trying to work on their summer body?

7. Pineapple: Pineapple should be the mascot for summer because instantly it takes you to a warmer place. The tropical fruit can have cooling effects on the body similar to that of cucumber and watermelon, so it’s definitely a food to eat in summer.

Not only is pineapple packed with vitamin C, A, calcium and iron, but it also provides potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, making it an all around healthy summer food. Pineapple is also great to aid in digestion and combat constipation because of its water and fiber content; it will help keep you regular and feeling great.

Have you ever tried grilled pineapple? The perfect summer recipe! Its natural juices caramelize so you don’t need additional sugars.

8. Sweet peppers: Cutting into a bell pepper is the sound of crisp and fresh! They come in a variety of colors, making them appealing to the eye and a great addition to just about any meal. Like many of the other foods to eat in summer on this list, peppers pack quite the nutrients, so enjoy them often. Peppers are also about 92 percent water so they can help keep you hydrated and cool throughout the summer.

Peppers can be made just about any way, but for a great snack you can bring with you simply slice them up and dip them in a low-fat dressing or chickpea hummus to truly savor the crunch.

leafy green healthy foods9. Dark leafy greens: You may notice that dark leafy greens tend to make most lists for healthy eating. That’s because they are highly beneficial for overall good health. In the case of foods to eat in summer, dark leafy greens should still be a staple as they have a high water content to keep us cool and refreshed. Their versatility makes them easy to incorporate into any meal at any time of the day.

Besides a salad, dark leafy greens can be added to just about anything. How about you make spinach or kale the base of your morning smoothie? These options pair nicely with fruit, so whip out your blender and have the many flavors come together for optimal health benefits.

10. Bananas: Summer heat makes us sweat, and the more we sweat, the more potassium we lose. To combat this, enjoy bananas daily and also receive vitamin C and B6. Bananas have also been shown to help with digestion issues so they can keep you regular. This way, you can get the most out of summer without worrying about bloating or diarrhea.

Want a fresh take on bananas? Freeze them! By freezing banana slices, they become a delicious, creamy, frozen treat much healthier than ice cream. Want to make them a decadent desert? Dip each slice in dark chocolate and then freeze.

Combating the heat this summer is essential to preventing serious heat-related illnesses and getting the most out of the season. By enjoying these cool foods to eat in summer, you can stay hydrated, nourished and cool.

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