Summer is in full effect—and that means that the selection of produce at your fingertips is packed with colorful benefits. Eating seasonal vegetables will boost your nutrient intake and their high water content helps you stay hydrated so you can beat the summer heat. Colorful summer veggies also contain antioxidants that help fight disease, reduce inflammation, and protect against the sun from the inside out.
Below is a list of some radiant summer vegetables that our nutrition and fitness mindset coach recommends getting into your diet.
This summer squash is a serious superfood—it’s packed with vitamins A, B and C, as well as potassium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, folate and manganese. Zucchini is tastier when cooked, so try serving it grilled, boiled, steamed, stuffed or even baked.
Kale is absolutely loaded with important antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and K, copper, potassium and magnesium, which promotes weight loss, improves mood and facilitates better sleep. Kale is also rich in folate, a B vitamin that's key for healthy brain function, and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.
These juicy members of the squash family are made up of 90 percent water, making them refreshing and hydrating, but are low in calories and carbs. Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin C and silica, which is essential for skin and connective tissue health. Whatever you do, don’t remove the skin—it’s packed with potassium, magnesium and fiber.
While they are available year round, avocados are said to be at their peak during the summer. They’re rich in monounsaturated fats, aka “healthy” fats, and are also great sources of potassium, folate, vitamins C and B6, among other important nutrients. In addition, they contain a compound that helps absorb the healthy carotenoids from vegetables.
Mushrooms have a low sodium and fat content, and are packed with nutrients such as fiber, potassium, niacin and riboflavin. They’re the perfect food for increasing the volume of a meal without adding a lot of calorie and fat. The chanterelle and porcini varieties are especially abundant during summertime.
Also known as Fava beans, these babies contain large amounts of fiber, vitamins A and C, protein, potassium and iron. Best eaten fresh, their leaves are delicious either raw or cooked. If you opt to cook them, steam them gently to retain the most nutrients.
These purple veggies are rich in polyphenols such as anthocyanins, the same type found in berries and red wine, which help fight free radical damage. Eggplant is also a good source of folate and manganese, which promotes a healthy metabolism and strong bones.
Tomatoes provide vitamins A and C, fiber, and powerful antioxidants like lycopene, which has been shown to boost heart and skin health while reducing the risk of cancer.
Bell peppers of all colors are another excellent source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E. The spicier versions contain capsacin, a compound that revs your metabolism and fills you up.
If you would like to optimize your lifestyle and overall health, consider working with a nutrition and fitness mindset coach like me!