âTis the season for swimsuits, summer dresses, skirts, and colored shorts. To help prepare you when you hit the beach, pool parties, BBQâs, or go on a much needed vacation, here are 8 foods to include this summer to help you attain your healthy, sexy summer self!
- Dark Leafy Greens â an absolute must! They contain vitamins A, C, E and K, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and many additional micronutrients and phytochemicals. They are loaded with fiber which aids in digestion and helps you feel full longer. The benefits are endless: weight loss, cancer prevention, strengthened immune system, improved digestion, increased energy, and the list goes on. You can choose from spinach, kale, broccoli, arugula, endive, and mesclun, to name several. Kale is definitely the new superfood and is considered to be one of the healthiest veggies on earth! Check this video out for more info on kale .You can enjoy these dark leafy greens in a salad or you can steam, boil, bake or sautÃ© them. One of my favorite salads is kale, mango, avocado, lime, shrimp, and cilantro with some extra-virgin olive oil and a touch of honey for the dressing.
- Cherries – are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. They contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, calcium, selenium, fiber, iron, and potassium. They help to prevent cancer and contain melatonin which may help to improve sleep. Our sleep can be disrupted during the summertime because of the extra hours of daylight. So, add some cherries to your diet to ensure youâre getting your best sleep! Cherries can also aid in slowing down our skinâs aging process. Iâll take that!
- Grapefruits – contain vitamins C, E, B3&5, iodine, fiber, calcium and magnesium. They help treat poor digestion, preventing constipation and alleviating gas. This citrus fruit also is detoxifying, boosts the immune system and can help with weight loss. Grapefruits stimulate our metabolism and assist in burning fat.
- Avocados â unfortunately got a bad rap because they tend to be higher in calories, BUT they actually can be helpful for weight loss. Avocados can satisfy hunger, balance our blood sugar, and improve our metabolism. They contain the healthy monounsaturated fats, are cancer fighting/protecting and are an excellent source of potassium, folate and vitamin E. Vitamin E plays a role in healthy skin and hair, just what we need during the summer months. So, top your salads with some avocado or bring some guacamole to a BBQ for a quick and healthy snack!
- Salmon – an excellent source of those omega-3s everyone is talking about these days. Omega-3 fats are essential to a healthy immune system and can ease the symptoms of asthma, depression and eczema. They are also known to support intellectual and neurological development. Salmon is a great source of protein, B-vitamins, antioxidants and the mineral selenium. Itâs best to buy wild salmon because farmed salmon can contain toxic contaminants and remnants of antibiotics. Those of you who donât eat fish or dislike salmon, consider taking a high-quality, ultra-pure fish oil supplement.
- Chia seeds – Loaded with omega-3 fats, they actually have the highest amount compared to all other seeds. They are rich in antioxidants, and are also a good source of protein and fiber. Chia seeds provide a ton of energy, which we could all use to keep up with the summer activities. They also improve digestion, provide a feeling of satiety, and reduce cravings. They can be added to almost anything â salads, smoothies, soups, veggie dishes, you name it.
- Water! â Most of us have heard how important it is to get plenty of water, especially in the summer when we are playing in the sun. It helps our skin stay hydrated and clear, assists in the digestion process, and helps our body perform all of its necessary functions. If you are not drinking enough water you may notice poor digestion, headaches, fatigue, breakouts, and even bad breathe. One great tip is when you first wake up in the morning drink a glass of water to rid your body of any toxins from the day before. To make your water more exciting, you can add some lemon, lime, orange, mint leaves or add a bunch of your favorite cut up fruit and/or berries, almost like water sangria! Another way to make your water more exciting is watermelon iced cubes
- Chocolate â Yep, chocolate! That is dark chocolate. I love to incorporate it into any list I can! Dark chocolate contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory actions that can actually help with weight loss. It can also be a natural mood lifter. You want to look for chocolate that has at least 70% cacao. The higher the percentage, the healthier for you. But, make sure the chocolate is free of added saturated fats (i.e. not a dark chocolate Snickers bar) and only has a minimal amount of added sugar. Although healthy for you, still be mindful of the amount you eat. I would suggest stopping at 1 ounce or the size of a credit card. Enjoy!
Kara has a background in psychology and counseling and was a school counselor for several years until she made the transition into nutrition. She wanted to live a life dedicated to health and helping others on their journey to increased health, purpose and happiness. She became a Board Certified Health Coach and is founder of KISS Health & Wellness. Kara works with clients individually as well as in a group setting. She not only discusses nutrition with clients, they talk about many areas of life that affect our health – relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality. She pulls from her counseling background, merging it with nutrition. She has her M.Ed. in Counseling and is also a Licensed Professional Counselor. You can connect more with Kara on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube & her website.
Sources for this article:
The Top 100 Healing Foods by Paula Bartimeus
The Top 100 Immunity Boosters by Charlotte Haigh
UltraMetabolism by Mark Hyman, M.D.