The Summertime Bounty
The other day I remarked to my husband how rewarding it is to provide food for my kids during the summer because unlike other times of year, they actually WANT and DEVOUR food that is good for them. I literally cannot keep my fruit bowl stocked during the summer because the moment I walk in the door with produce from the grocery store or farmer’s market, they swarm me to grab their favorite fruits and inhale them in seconds flat.
During the winter??? Not so much.
But that got me thinking – we all know that summer provides a food bounty unlike other times of year, but which of these yummy foods are the best for our skin?
If you look up this subject you will get a wide range of answers, so let me try to keep it as simple as possible:
- Fruits. Strawberries? Cherries? Watermelon? Blueberries? Pineapple? You name it and you should eat it. Not only because they are unbelievably yummy and don’t contain salt or added sugars but also because they are good for your skin. Blueberries and cherries are really high in antioxidants, which as we all know fight the free radicals that cause cellular damage to the skin. Blueberries also are high in vitamin C, which helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles from forming when consumed or applied externally. Watermelon – as the name implies – is made up primarily of water. So if you are having a hard time consuming the minimum 8 glasses of water per day, then just grab a couple slices of this chilled treat and feel a little bit better about being hydrated. Strawberries. Ah strawberries…. so much goodness wrapped up in a small red morsel of flavor. Pretty amazing that each cup of strawberries contains 163% of your daily value of Vitamin C? And finally, pineapple. This one is a personal favorite and I cannot eat enough of it. Did you know pineapple contains bromelain which is a natural anti inflammatory? Not only is that good for your joints, but less inflammation helps you recover from sunburns should you (gasp!) let yourself get burnt. (Say it ain’t so this summer!!) So now that you know all about this – go make yourself a big fruit salad for lunch and savor the flavor while knowing that you are doing your body an immense amount of good with every bite.
- Tomatoes. Now, if you’re anything like me, this one will make you incredibly happy. When my husband plants his garden every year, he asks me what I want him to plant and every year, without hesitation, I answer the exact same way….use ALL the space for tomato plants please. I could literally eat home-grown tomatoes every meal, every day. Tomatoes over cottage cheese with a dash of vinegar? Yes please. Caprese salad for lunch and dinner? Absolutely. The reason tomatoes are good for your skin is they are high in lycopene and beta-carotene, which both increase your skin’s natural defense against sun damage, which is obviously a very real concern during the summer.
- Red Bell Peppers. These are the best tasting bell peppers in my opinion…crisp and delicious and so good for your skin. And the good news is they are plentiful during the summer. Like the fruits listed above, they are high in antioxidants and vitamin C – so go ahead and slice some to dip in your favorite sauce or just throw a handful on your daily salad. Your skin will love you for it.
- Spinach. Now, I have to admit, I was a late bloomer when it came to embracing spinach. And I have my husband to thank for my current appreciation of the versatile and nutritious green. Now, when he asks if I want some sautéed spinach for breakfast with a poached egg on top, not only does my mouth start to salivate but I also recognize that I am happily eating extremely healthy. You see, spinach is loaded with antioxidants, which are just straight up good for your skin. Spinach also has Vitamins B, C and E, along with micronutrients like potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium. If this isn’t enough to persuade you, it also have omega-3 fatty acids which are imperative for skin and heart health. Add some to your salad tonight!!
- Salmon. I know you can get salmon year round, but in my house, it is definitely associated with summer. A gorgeous barbecued salmon with a side of asparagus and a slice of lemon? You bet! Salmon is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids which help your skin regulate oil production and as a result, your visage could start to improve with every bite!
- Coconut Water. Again, in this wonderful day and age, we are lucky enough to be able to reach for a coconut water any day of the year. But during the summer, it seems particularly fitting. What could be more refreshing than an ice cold box of coconut water after a good long hike? Honestly, nothing I can think of. The benefits of coconut water are many – aside from the thirst quenching effects and the yummy flavor, it is loaded with electrolytes which support youthful and supple skin AND it has a lot of potassium, which supports circulation, thereby delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the skin level.
This is a long post for us and trust me, if I listed everything that I found when doing research, it would be ten times as long. But these were my favorites and hopefully yours too. With that said, go to your local store and farmer’s markets and load up on some nutritious goodies and create a summertime feast to remember!