On Your Health

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Delicious Recipes Featuring Superstar Summer Superfoods

In the summer, food is easy. The earth, warmed by the sun, sprouts bounties of berries, lavishes us with leafy greens and tempts us with vast amounts of vine-ripened tomatoes.

Fruits and vegetables are the superstars of summer eating. While fall, winter and spring harvests have their own bright spots, the summer cornucopia is full of “superfoods” that taste like sunshine and are filled with life-nourishing vitamins and minerals our bodies need.

What are some of summer’s healthiest superfoods and how can you incorporate them into your diet? Here’s an easy list with recipes that will make plucking perfect produce particularly simple.


Blueberries

Blueberries are an iconic summer superfood filled with fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C. Blueberries also have antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanins, which are nutrients that help neutralize free radical damage to cells.

If that’s not enough for you to pick those berries, then consider this. Blueberries are also thought to slow down vision loss, aid in digestion, break down belly fat, relieve constipation and improve memory health. 

Venture out to your local farmers market or hunt down your own baskets of blueberries at area U-pick farms to take advantage of this summer superfood berry that’s both nutritious and delicious.


Balanced Blueberry Smoothie from the US Blueberry Council

(download PDF here)

summer superfood recipes


Avocados

There’s a reason people continue to rave about avocado toast and guacamole. Avocados are the heavy hitter when it comes to nutrition. This fruit is loaded with healthy oleic acid, which increases fat metabolism. It also has carotenoid antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin and Vitamin E which busts oxidative stress to create healthier cells.

Avocados also have ionic potassium and folate, which have an alkalizing effect on the body to battle acidic waste. Eating an avocado helps the body absorb alpha carotene, beta carotene and lutein, which help fight off free radicals in the body.


California Avocado White Bean Salad from California Avocados

(download PDF here)

summer superfood recipe


Cucumbers

Pickle lovers rejoice! Besides being the base for dill and sweet pickles, cucumbers are great on their own or added to any summer salad recipe.

Cucumbers are loaded with the mineral silica, which is an essential component for healthy connective tissue like cartilage, muscles, skin and bones. They are also full of ionic potassium, magnesium and vitamin C.

Like our other summer superfoods, cucumbers have an alkalizing effect on your body while also hydrating your skin and joints with fluids. These green machines are also a natural detoxifier.

Health experts say that cucumbers are ideal for those with high blood pressure. Even better, cucumbers are strikingly low in calories.


Cucumber Salad from Cooking Light

(download PDF here)

Summer superfood


Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are the unsung heroes of your garden or farmers market. These veggies are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber.

Red bell peppers especially put the “super” in superfood. They pack more nutrition, more beta carotene and nearly twice the vitamin C as green bell peppers.


Sweet and Spicy Pepper Salad from Oklahoma State’s "Oklahoma Gardening"

(download the PDF)

Summer superfood 

Carrots and Beets 

These summertime root vegetables not only fill you full of antioxidants and beta carotene but are also wonderful for your skin.

Carrots contain vitamin C, which can help skin recover faster from external wounds and trauma. Beta carotene in carrots also reduces skin inflammation, which speeds the healing process. Beets are shown to improve athletic performance by adding dietary nitrates to your body and can significantly lowering blood pressure in only a few hours.

Beets also contain pigments called betalains, which some scientists believe help boost anti-inflammatory properties.


Roasted Beets, Carrots and Red Onion Salad from the American Heart Association

(download the PDF)

Summer superfood


Tomatoes

Oh, tomatoes. From spicy salsa to herb-filled tomato sauce or even eaten plain, tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits in the global diet. Tomatoes are a major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.


Hot Artichoke Dip Stuffed Tomatoes from Florida Tomatoes

(download the PDF)

Summer superfood


How to find superfoods

Want to stock up on these great summer superfoods? Summertime is an ideal way to explore your local farmers market or roadside summer produce stand. U-pick farms are not only a great way to spend a summer day and stock up on hearty foods, but can help support your local farmers, too.

Of course, growing your own vegetables and fruits can be an enjoyable pastime. If you have a black thumb or aren’t sure where to begin to start gardening, local extension offices like the Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension Services offer free horticulture classes for master gardeners and beginners alike!

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