Making the Most of Summer Produce

Yellow and green zucchini

Fresh produce reigns in the summertime and these seasonal foods are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
When food comes into season, it also often tastes more delicious and can be eaten fresh from the garden. Many antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables are in season over the summer so be sure to include these superfoods daily if you can. As your favorite produce ripens in the warm weather, be sure to include these tasty and healthy options for an anti-aging punch of nourishment.

Anti-aging Super Foods of the Summer

Berries: strawberries (April through September), blueberries (May through October) and blackberries (the latest of all berries depending on geographical area) go well in smoothies, salads, and desserts in hot summer months.  Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants including anthocyanins found in blue, purple and red foods, berries are a nutrition powerhouse. Bonus – they are also very high in fiber.

CucumbersCucumbers: Grown in greenhouses around the world, cucumbers come into season during the summer months. Low in calories and high in water and electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, it’s no wonder that cucumbers are hydrating and cooling. Get creative with cucumbers this summer by including them in salads, smoothies, soups and beverages. Bonus – they’re rich in vitamin K and antioxidant flavonoids.



Yellow cherry on black reflective backgroundCherries: a variety of cherries come into season in May or June each summer and last through August. Very rich in an antioxidant class called polyphenols, the dark red color of cherries indicates they may be a superfood. Eat cherries for fiber, vitamin A, C, K, folate and choline as well. Bonus – think beyond dessert for cherries; chop and add to salsa, salads, or in a sauce for a savory dish this summer.



Chilli pepper still lifePeppers: Colorful bell peppers in orange, red, green, yellow and purple shades abound (May through September) and hot peppers like jalapenos or serranoes are also in season in warmer months. Packed with skin-supporting antioxidant vitamin C, peppers are anti-aging powerhouses. Bell peppers are ideal for snacking on or adding to fresh salsa (try my Papaya Salsa) or pico de gallo. Bonus – grill peppers for a smoky flavor your guests will love.

Squash: Do you associate squash with wintertime? Think again. Summer squash like zucchini and yellow squash are versatile to cook with and packed with anti-aging compounds that support eyesight like lutein and zeaxanthin. Squash is high in fiber and water to keep you fuller longer as well. Bonus – summer squash is thin-skinned unlike winter squash so it’s quick and simple to slice and go.

Tomatoes: nothing says summertime like ripe, red tomatoes packed with vitamin C and powerful antioxidant lycopene. Linked to cancer-fighting compounds, lycopene is an important part of the diet and is found in red-colored foods like tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, and Note that jarred, canned and cooked tomatoes are more potent in lycopene than fresh tomatoes so feel free to incorporate tomatoes of all varieties this summer – from pasta sauce to gazpacho. Bonus – from cherry and grape tomatoes to larger varieties like heirloom, pick up at your favorite type from the local Farmers Market this weekend.


Lovin’ Those Summertime Blues – Mighty Blueberries Rock!

8 Great Reasons To Love Cherries

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  1. Worlds Healthiest Foods. Blueberries. Accessed 5/30/16.
  2. Worlds Healthiest Foods. Summer Squash. Accessed 5/30/16.
  3. Worlds Healthiest Foods. Cucumbers. Accessed 5/30/16.
  4. Worlds Healthiest Foods. Bell Peppers. Accessed 5/30/16.
  5. Worlds Healthiest Foods. Tomatoes. Accessed 5/30/16.
  6. Summer Produce Guide. Accessed 6/1/16.



About Ginger Hultin, MS RDN CSO

Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, CSO, LDN, is a health writer and owner of Champagne Nutrition specializing in integrative health and whole food-based nutrition. She serves as Immediate Past President for the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chair-Elect of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and is a Media Representative for the Illinois Academy. Read Ginger's blog, Champagne Nutrition, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Ginger Hultin MS RD CSO LDN | @GingerHultinRD Chair-Elect, Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group  
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