Summer is a great time to focus on healthy eating, not only to help you feel comfortable in your bathing suit, but to support your overall well-being. And the perfect place to start is to eat what’s in season.
Seasonal eating is not only nutritious, it’s delicious! And that’s because fruits and vegetables grow better during their natural season. Some savory fruits that are in-season this time of year include blueberries, peaches, nectarines, cherries, cantaloupe, raspberries, blackberries and watermelon. These fruits are also hydrating, particularly important in rising temperatures, and they contain antioxidants. In fact, some of them are antioxidant powerhouses such as watermelon and blueberries.
Is that really important? Yes, antioxidants can slow, and sometimes even prevent, damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage human cells and have been linked to ageing and many diseases.
Like fruits, vegetables are also hydrating and full of antioxidants. And this time of year, tasty in-season veggies include cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, bell peppers and corn (for a full list, see below). Another benefit of eating lots of greens and colorful vegetables is that it helps with digestion.
In addition to fresh summer fruits and veggies, seafood tastes better certain times of the year than others because fish have seasons too, according to the Center For Food Safety (CFS), a U.S. nonprofit that supports sustainable food sourcing. The best fish to eat on the East Coast in June, July and August include mahi-mahi, snapper (preferably yellowtail), shellfish, stone crab, and striped bass aka rockfish. And when you’re shopping, keep in mind that wild fish is almost always leaner (and often tastier) than farmed fish, but if you buy farmed, choose domestic over imported, and local if possible.
When it comes to high quality beef, some experts, including the self-proclaimed “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin, claim that late fall/early winter is the best season for beef. But hey, we won’t fault you for firing up your grill this summer and throwing a few burgers on; after all, there’s nothing quite like a burger with fresh corn-on-the cob finished off with a berry pie. Yum!
For a detailed list of vegetable and fruit summer superfoods, i.e. nutrition superstars, check out health guru John Douillard’s list below. Note that the early and mid-summer superfoods are included in the late-summer list.
Early Summer Superfoods
- Baby kale
- Salad greens
- Some berries and cherries
- Coconut and coconut oil
- Green peppers
- Leafy greens
- Olives and olive oil
- All of the early and mid-summer superfoods
- Sweet ripe fruits