By Caroline Mackey, Holistic Nutritionist CNP, PTS
Summer is finally upon us, and that means a rich harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables available to us over the next couple of months. Here’s some of my favourite summer foods to enjoy fresh this season:
Berries are of course in season over the summer, but cherries are just one of the most delicious fresh fruit options to enjoy at just this time of the year. They are tart with a hint of sweetness, juicy and crisp. They have loads of lovely antioxidants, and they are rich in fibre – both of these things are great for healthy digestion. They even aid in keeping your brain working well.
How to enjoy: just as they are is absolutely delicious, but I also enjoy throwing them in with some oats, cinnamon and a touch of maple syrup for a baked crumble (350F for an hour), or throw them in with a salad of dark leafy greens and a balsamic vinaigrette.
I love this versatile vegetable! Also known as the summer squash, these emerald beauties are a good source of vitamin C and manganese, and has a great combination of antioxidant nutrients. They are also great at balancing blood sugar; they contain many B vitamins which are required for a healthy blood sugar balance. They also have omega 3 fats in their seeds, making them a help for inflammation as well.*
How to enjoy: They hold up well any number of ways. Some of my favourite ways to use them are chopped up as veggie sticks with hummus, chunks in a salad, spiralize them for a fresh ‘pasta’ tossed with pesto and a protein of your choosing, or grate them for use in a loaf or muffins.
When most people think of apricots, they probably picture them in dried form, where they are most often covered in sugar, and are eaten in large quantities for high sugar intake. However, fresh apricots are a great nutritious food choice. They are full of beta-carotene and fiber, and are a great source of vitamins C and A. They are also a great source of antioxidants to protect you from free radicals, and have catechins which are potent anti-inflammatory agents.*
How to enjoy: Fresh as they are is wonderful for this gorgeous orange fruit. You could also use them as a base for a healthy jam made with chia seeds and a touch of maple syrup, top your morning oatmeal with some fresh slices and some cinnamon, or add them to a lentil salad.
Corn is ubiquitous in a lot of processed, packaged foods as well as the basis for canola oil. And in those forms it’s unhealthy and pro-inflammatory. However, eating fresh corn on the cob can be nutritious and delicious when it’s in season over the summer. It’s another vegetable with lots of antioxidants, as well as fiber which is great for balancing blood sugar. Special note: there’s a misnomer that corn is not digestible and that’s why you see it in your stool. That’s not the case – it means you’re eating it too fast and not chewing it enough!
How to enjoy: Skip the corn lathered in tons of butter and try either grilling or cooking the corn and adding it to a fresh salad of greens, radishes, cucumbers (all in season!) and fresh herbs. Dill would be delicious!
Here’s a dark leafy green that often gets overlooked for the trendy kale or the staple romaine lettuce. Arugula is in season over the summer and is the perfect time to give this green a try. It’s actually in the cruciferous vegetable category, and is a great source of fiber, vitamins A and C. It also stimulates bile flow within the liver and is a great choice for supporting proper liver function.
How to enjoy: Its peppery taste pairs well with many salad combos – try it with other foods of the season like in combination with peaches or zucchini, and add a protein like salmon or chicken. Simple, fresh and delicious!
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