Summer Produce with Big Health Benefits
As May winds down and we enter June, so many wonderful fruits and veggies are in season.
Around this time of year, my favorite farmers market in Santa Monica gets a little more colorful as citrus season ends and berries and lettuce are ready to harvest. Not only are late springtime fruits and vegetables delicious and beautiful… but they hold incredible healing and health support for your body.
Here’s what I love about five specific seasonal fruits and vegetables… and some suggestions to help you enjoy eating them!
1. Blueberries - These little berries can have a big impact on your overall health. High in fiber, they can aid weight loss by keeping you feeling full longer and helping you to avoid snacking between meals. Their high fiber content can also aid in regular digestion. Polyphenols in blueberries inhibit inflammation, helping to minimize free radicals that lead to premature aging, chronic disease, and autoimmune disorders.
Try this: I especially love blueberries in the morning with an almond milk matcha latte!
2. Strawberries - One of my favorite signs that summer has arrived is strawberry season. Almost nothing compares to a fresh, still-warm-from-the-sun strawberry from a fruit stand along PCH next to the Pacific Ocean! Their high vitamin A and C levels help detoxify your body while neutralizing inflammation. Strawberries also aid in balancing gut pH. Folate, a B vitamin found in these super-berries, supports tissue development required for a healthy pregnancy. Folate also aids in preventing anemia. It also can improve skin’s elasticity, and overall skin hydration.
Try this: Get fresh, organic strawberries from your local farmers market and serve them sliced for dessert one night. When they’re in season, their natural sweetness can satisfy the most intense sweet tooth!
3. Kale - There’s a good reason that kale has become more popular in the United States over the last few years. A member of the cabbage family, kale is very high in iron and supports healthy circulation and blood cell health. It’s also high in fiber and sulfur, which aid in improving liver health. Kale also contains more calcium than milk per calorie which helps support good bone health.
Try this: Chiffonade some kale and add it to a picnic slaw or salad! Cutting it into very thin strips makes it more pleasant to chew, while adding a punch of flavor, color, and health benefits.
4. Peas - Many people associate peas with sweetness, but you may not realize that they can aid in supporting healthy blood sugar levels. They’re a low glycemic-index vegetable with a very high level of protein and fiber. This helps regulate the rate that sugar is released into your bloodstream, while also helping you feel full longer and potentially helping you manage a healthy weight. Being high in protein, peas also contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Try this: Make a simple summer soup by pureeing peas and broth with your favorite herbs - you can serve it warm or cold!
5. Rhubarb - High in Vitamin K, rhubarb contributes to increasing bone health. It contains at least ten antioxidants, including epicatechin, myricetin, hyperoside, quercitrin, quercetin. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals, improving your complexion, increasing your energy, and possibly preventing the development of chronic diseases triggered by chronic inflammation. Rhubarb is also a digestive aid high in fiber, and has been used to relieve tummy troubles like constipation for centuries.
Try this: Slice rhubarb and pears then sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until soft for a comforting breakfast or dessert!
The end of May and beginning of June are full of flavorful, vibrant produce. What do you think you’ll try first?
XO - Serena