Monday, 31 May 2021

HOW to eat in season in Summer and WHY it is important

Summer is here!! With summer, brings sunshine, beaches and fun but also really tasty food! When we go on holiday, it can be easy to forget about our health, but eating seasonal foods could help boost our health.You can still binge on your favourite icecreams on the beach and eat nice dinners in the evening, but also incorporate some seasonal fruits and veggies to make sure your body is still functioning optimally.  It is so important to eat in season, for your health and for the environment, so read on to find out why! I will also tell you which foods are in season during the summer so you can mix and match and try out new foods. Overall it will be better for the environment, healthier and better for your bank balance!


Why is eating in season so important?

  1. The food tastes better - In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter and perfectly ripe. 
  2. Cheaper - when producing fruits and veg, more can be produced so the cost of produce will go down.
  3. Fresher with higher nutritional value - Fruits and veggies stored for longer periods have a reduction in phyto-nutrient content
  4. Avoid overseas contaminates - When you order berries in winter, the food is being transported a long way. So maybe your food is coming from a 
  5. Support your body natural nutritional needs - It's really cool because seasonal produce helps us get the vitamins we need the most in that period. For example, winter vegetables contain vitamin C which is important for supporting the immune system to help against the flu etc. In Summer, stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotenes that help protect us against sun damage and the sweetness gives us more energy for the hot weather
  6. More environmentally friendly - Eating in season supports local produce which means less transportation, refrigeration, etc. 

 

What should I eat during summer? And what are their health benefits?



Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, are super high in antioxidants and fibre. Many berries have proven benefits for heart health as they lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

How can I incorporate? I like to various berries and put them together to make a berry salad. Then it is easy to simply scoop out every morning on a place on top of your breakfast oats or cereal or to have before your toast. Note that because berries digest very quickly, you should eat them first thing in the morning, or before a meal.

Peaches – they are rich in many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. A peach has 10% of your daily amount of vitamin A and 17% of vitamin C.

How can I incorporate? Peaches are a great snack but can be messy to put in your bag. So heating some peach with some maple syrup or honey could be a nice topping on porridge or overnight oats.

Cherries – Cherries are a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, vitamin A and folic acid. Please note that cherries contain melatonin, which is the chemical that helps you sleep. So, I would recommend eating them only in the evening or at a time where you can relax.

How can I incorporate? You could eat cherries as an evening snack or make a cherry pie to have after dinner.

Mangoes are full of Vitamin C which helps protect the immune system; something which we want to be strong right now! Plus, mangoes are just so yummy!

How can I incorporate? Mango taste delicious in salads or poke bowls. Alternatively, you could pop them in your oats in the morning.

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, fibre and various beneficial plant compounds. There is evidence that they help support heart health, weight control and is good for digestive health. Lemons and limes may also prevent kidney stones because they are high in citric acid by raising levels of citrate and binding stone-forming minerals in the urine.

How can I incorporate? As cliché as it sounds, putting lemon in your water on a morning, or throughout the day, can be a great way to incorporate lemon. Or, you could squeeze it on your salad, or bake salmon in the oven with slices of lemon on top for extra flavour.

Limes are also high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Limes are great for improving immunity, aiding iron absorption and promoting health skin. One study in people following a vegetarian diet found that drinking a glass of lemonade alongside a plant based meal, increased iron absorption by up to 70%!!

How can I incorporate? I love to make Mexican dishes and have a squeeze of lime. Alternatively, my Sri Lankan curry includes the juice of a lime. The tanginess of the lime compliments the sweet and spicy in the dish.

Honeydew melon contains multiple nutrients that are vital for bone health, including folate, vitamin K and magnesium. Melon is rich in electrolytes and water so is great to stay hydrated in the summer.

How can I incorporate? Honeydew melon is great as a snack, especially if on the go. Or having a picnic outside in the sun. It is very hydrating.

Watermelon has vitamin A, C potassium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B5 and B6. Lycopene, a plant compound found in Watermelon, have been studied for their anti-cancer effects.

How can I incorporate? You could eat slices of watermelon or if you prefer, drink watermelon juice!

Apples We all know the saying “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’’ That saying is really old but rings so true with me. Investing in your health now, will help you in the future. Studies have linked apple consumption with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, which may be related to the cholesterol-lowering benefits of the soluble fibre found in apples.

How can I incorporate? A great snack by itself, or you could top it on your oats. I personally prefer heating apple and sprinkling it with cinnamon.

Bananas are rich in potassium, as everyone knows, but they actually have a higher % of your recommended daily amount of vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese.

How can I incorporate? Bananas are a great on the go snack. I like to take it to work with me and have one when I get hungry which is usually before lunchtime. It saves me reaching for chocolate bars instead.

 


Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. They have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.

How can I incorporate? Try adding carrots into your stir-fries for some extra crunch and flavour. Some people like to have raw carrot in a salad too.

Celery Celery reduces inflammation due to their approx. 25 anti-inflammatory compounds that can offer protection against inflammation in the body. It has 95% water content including generous amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre therefore, it supports digestion well.

How can I incorporate? Some people like to eat celery raw dipped into hummus. However, that is not for me. The way I incorporate celery into my diet is when making a stew or chilli. I chop it up and fry it with onions and garlic as a base for a dish.

Aubergine or eggplant, are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are high in vitamins and minerals.

How can I incorporate? Stuffed aubergine is always a great shout or an aubergine roasted in the oven, covered in miso sauce. However, my favourite summer dish is ratatouille. This is aubergine, courgette and pepper baked in a tomato sauce – super simple, healthy and delicious! You could have ratatouille with pasta or with cous cous and some protein. /

Courgette or 'Zucchini' is low in calories and have a high water content. They don’t have a super high number of micronutrients but they do provide useful amounts of immune system boosting vitamin C and significant levels of potassium, which is key to controlling blood pressure.

How can I incorporate? As I said above, you could make ratatouille which is so delicious.

Peppers – Did you know half a raw pepper has 100% of your daily amount of vitamin C? People eat oranges when they want vitamin C but pepper has way more.

How can I incorporate? I eat a lot of pepper as I have my chickpea dish a couple of times a week. Another great idea for pepper is to make a gazpacho or an easier option, slice up raw better (more nutrition) and dip in hummus or guacamole; crudités. I also love having stuffed peppers for a lighter dinner.

Cucumber is great to eat in summer as it is also a source of liquid and helps to keep you hydrated.

How can I incorporate? Of course, you can make a salad and in Summer, many of us crave this lighter type of meal. However, if that’s not you, don’t worry. You could make a gazpacho, put in your tuna sandwich or simply pop some in your Pimms and eat after!

 


There are a lot of fruits and veggies here and it can feel overwhelming trying to incorporate all of them. Therefore, I recommend that you try to incorporate one or two new ones a week and switch it up each week. For example, try having mango as a snack one week then pineapple the next. Incorporate some corn into a Mexican dish one week then make ratatouille the next week which uses aubergine, courgette and peppers!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Alice
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