Every season brings unique flavors – and cravings for different foods and drinks. But there’s hardly a season as inspiring as summer. That’s because there are so many great foods that come of season during summer, from corn on the cob to fresh fruits. And to beat the heat, it’s awesome to cool down with refreshing foods, from cool desserts to chilled beverages. With summer weather, it’s time to get outside – from the pool to the beach, from picnics to grilling – which means you need fresh ideas for food. Summer will be gone before you know it.
We’re all starting to spend more time outdoors. And that warm summer sun feels oh-so-good—until I remember the damage it could be wreaking on my skin: 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun.Protecting yourself from UV radiation can help prevent premature skin aging. Sunscreen is still the first line of defense against sun damage (experts say slather on an ounce—about a palmful—of SPF 30 or higher and re-apply every 2 hours). And there’s more you can do—the latest research suggests that some beverages and foods may also deliver nutrients that protect your skin as well.
Indulging in a variety of nutritious foods is another great way to stay comfortable. Being a natural coolant, these foods lend you a hand to beat the summer’s heat. Try these delicious and cool options to keep your body cool:
- Watermelon – Often called the perfect summer fruit, the health benefits of watermelon are still often overlooked. The truth is that it contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids plus the antioxidant lycopene.
- Corn – Grilling up some sweet corn is healthier than you think. One ear of sweet corn contains three grams of fiber, plus folate, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Plus it tastes fantastic!
- Fresh Fruits – Delicious and nutritious? Almost too good to be true. Fruits are tasty, which is why so many desserts and sweets take their flavor inspirations from them. But they’re super healthy to boot – most berries, for example, are packed with anti-oxidants, which slow aging and fight cancer. Summer is the best time to get a wide variety of fresh fruits generally not available in winter. Enjoy chilled half crescents of watermelon, sun-kissed cherries, fresh picked blackberries or chocolate-dipped strawberries.
- Iced Tea – Most summer drinks are made to cool you off. Those soft drinks and fruit juices are loaded with wasted calories, but instead of sipping on H20 all summer, stick to some fresh iced tea. It will provide you with loads of antioxidants.
- Green Tea – New research in the Journal of Nutrition gives us one more reason to sip this super drink. Women who drank 4 cups of green tea per day for 12 weeks lowered their risk of sunburn by 25 percent, plus their skin density and elasticity—qualities that make skin look younger—improved.
- Red Wine – Although white wine might be your summer sip of choice, preliminary research out of the University of Barcelona points to a new reason to choose red. Researchers found that proanthocyanidins, antioxidants found in red grapes, may help prevent oxidative reactions in your skin. Oxidative reactions, often stemming from sun exposure, can damage and kill cells, which in turn may lead to sunburns, wrinkles and possibly skin cancer. Before you pour yourself another glass, though, remember that the recommended cap on alcoholic beverages is one a day for women, two for men.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on exotic superfoods from distant lands to reap the amazing health benefits they offer. With summer here, there are many great superfoods at your local market, farm stand, and maybe even backyard. They offer some incredible health rewards but also a low environmental cost since most of these foods don’t have far to travel to get to your table.