It’s a fact that is universally accepted that it is simpler to keep a healthy lifestyle in the summer time at least for some of us who are prone to reaching for comfort food every time it’s dark and cold and eating our first meal of the season when the sun is out.
It could be because of the abundance of attractive “superfoods” this season. “Summer ‘superfoods’ can be viewed as a collection of nutrient-dense foods in season,” says the registered nutritionist Lily Soutter. “Often these foods may be under research due to having specific health properties or having a high amount of nutrients.”
“However, it is important to bear in mind that the term ‘superfood’ is not a scientific one, and no one food in isolation will cure a specific illness or have magical properties,” she says. “Instead, it is best to consume them as
As a part of a balanced and healthy diet, these foods can assist us in attaining more beneficial health.”
Which are the most effective to include in our diets, and what are they useful for? Expert nutritionists offer their tips.
Ideal for heart health
“Summer is truly the season of berries, with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries taking the spotlight,” Soutter adds. Soutter. “Their vivid color of purple and red is due to the high content of plant chemicals known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have been found to boost cardiovascular health as well as cognitive performance.”
Eat by: “I enjoy incorporating fresh and frozen berries in my smoothies or as toppings for the porridge I make.”
The best choice for detoxification
“Broccoli is packed with compounds like glucosinolates that aid the body’s detoxification process,” certified Nutritionist Sophie Trotman claims. “Our bodies naturally cleanse themselves daily. However, these nutrients aid in optimizing detoxification by creating, neutralizing, and removing carcinogens and toxic substances while improving overall well-being.
“Additionally broccoli is rich in antioxidants and fiber as well as fibre. Both are crucial for promoting the health of your gut. Simply put, incorporating broccoli in your daily diet is a delicious and easy method to help support the body’s natural detoxification pathways and boost overall well-being.”
Eat it with: “Add it to stir fries, roast it with olive oil, sea salt and spices or simply steam it and serve alongside a source of protein.”
Broccoli can be used in many ways (Photo: GMVozd/Getty/E+)
The best choice for protection
“Beta-carotene is responsible for the characteristic yellow hue of mango, and it can offer a small degree of photoprotection against those summer rays – although SPFshould always be used along with other sun protection measures,” Soutter says. Soutter.
“Beta-carotene also converts to vitamin A within the body, an essential nutrient for immunity, vision and skin health.”
Consume with “I like mango in both savory and sweet dishes. Thai Chicken and Mango lettuce cup are some of my favorite summer meals. Beta carotene is most effectively absorbable when it is mixed with fats, I like to include avocados or olive oils in this dish.”
is the best choice for energy
“Figs are a great source of iron which is particularly important for maintaining energy,” says nutritionist Jenna Hope. “Low iron levels can be caused by fatigue. Iron is particularly important for women going through menstrual cycles since the loss of iron occurs every month in the course of a menstrual cycle.”
Eat: “Consuming them with a teaspoon of peanut butter will help slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream and to keep you fuller for longer.”
Best for: enhancing exercise
Beetroot juice is an excellent source of nitrates that convert into nitric oxide in the body. “It’s this nitric oxide which has been shown to have exercise-enhancing effects for endurance sports by improving oxygen use,” Soutter says. Soutter. “What’s more, beetroot is an exceptional source of a particular phytonutrient known as betalains that causes their deep purple color.
“Research has shown that this plant pigment has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”
Eat by: “Beetroot is versatile and there are many ways to include it within the diet: I particularly enjoy refreshing beetroot juice, beetroot hummus and I make a delicious plant-based beetroot burger.”
Best for: fertility
“Brazil nuts are particularly rich in the nutrient selenium which plays a vital role in supporting fertilityin both males and females,” Hope says. Hope. “In women, selenium deficiency may have negative impacts on fertility and in men, selenium helps to encourage the sperm to swim to be able to meet the egg.”
Eat them with: “As a snack. Because Brazil nuts are high in nutrients, three to four nuts a day is sufficient. Overconsumption of Brazil nuts isn’t advised.”
Brazil nuts can aid fertility (Photo Victoria Jones/PA Wire)
The best choice for Bone health
It is typical to think of dairy products regarding bone and calcium. “However, spinach and green leafy vegetables can be a rich source of calcium too,” Hope says. Hope.
“Calcium plays a vital role in supporting the production of bone minerals and ensuring optimal bone mineral density.”
Eat it with: “Where possible, try to include spinach in your soups, sandwiches, salads, and stews, as well as curries. Because fresh spinach has an indefinite shelf life so, storing it in your freezer – or purchasing frozen versions – could be a great method to make sure you always have the freshest variety available.”
Ideal for: energy
“Chickpeas are rich in B-vitamins and complex carbohydrates, both of which play a vital role in supporting energy production,” Hope says. Hope. “Chickpeas are also rich in fibre which can help to nourish a healthy gut.”
Eat by: “Add to a diverse array of dishes like curries, soups, stews and salads, or turn into
dips, such as Hummus.”
Ideal for: gut health
“Flaxseeds are a rich source of fibre and prebioticswhich help to nourish the beneficial gut bacteria,” Hope adds. Hope. “Fibre also helps with increasing stool bulk and the transit time of stools.”
Consume with “Flaxseeds can be added to porridge, yoghurt and smoothies in the morning but can also be sprinkled over salads, soups and stews as well as used in baking.”
The best choice for Hydration
Soutter says food is responsible for up to 20 percent of our daily fluid consumption. “Watermelon is around 90 percent water and a great hydrating fruit to quench our thirst during summer,” she states. “What’s more, the ruby red color of watermelon is due to a powerful antioxidant called lycopene.”
Consume, “As the bioavailability and potency of lycopene increase when combined with fats, I frequently take advantage of watermelon slices accompanied by some yogurt that is natural.”