Vegetables are much more plentiful in the summer than other times of the year. Farmers markets are open everywhere, gardens are yielding fresh produce and grocery stores have their widest selection available. These summer-grown vegetables are loaded with nutrients and in most places you can get them from local sources, so they are fresher and healthier than ever. Include some of them in your diet everyday.
In most places you can get them from local sources, so they are fresher and healthier than ever.
1. Red bell peppers
All bell peppers are nutrient-rich but red peppers pack more vitamins than the other colors. Each serving has 213 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C helps to produce collagen in the body and helps maintain blood vessels, organs and bones. It can also help to reduce inflammation. Try red peppers raw, grilled or in a stir-fry.
A botanist would call tomatoes a fruit, but since they are enjoyed in savory recipes, let’s consider them a vegetable. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from free radicals. Lycopene can also help prevent skin damage that occurs often in the summer from UV rays and protect against skin cancer.
A single serving of kale provides 700 percent of your daily vitamin K needs. Vitamin K promotes bone formation and strengthens existing bones. Vitamin K also helps to reduce neuron damage in the brain and can protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Kale is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B6 and iron, all vital nutrients for active people. Eat it raw in salads or smoothies, baked into chips or sautéed.
Rich in folate, which helps with cell division and DNA synthesis, zucchini is delicious sauteed or grilled in thin strips.
5. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great choice for active people because they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and with the complex carbohydrates which your body needs after a workout. They have more vitamin A than any other vegetable. Swap regular potatoes with sweet potatoes this summer for a higher boost of vitamins A and C.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy summer vegetables? Share your ideas in Comments so we can all learn from each other.