Best Summertime Foods for your Health
Warm summer days produce a variety of delicious foods that help improve our health. These five tips can help you incorporate refreshing summertime foods that are rich in nutrients and flavor!
Basil is a favorite summertime addition to a variety of dishes. Naturally improving digestion, these little leaves are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Add basil leaves to your favorite summertime salads or pasta dishes, or grind it into a pesto and serve with pasta and chicken for a light summer dinner.
Also known for their presence in Italian dishes, tomatoes are fabulous for any summer dish. Add fresh tomatoes to basil leaves, olive oil and fresh mozzarella for a simple salad, or cook them into a savory, homemade pasta sauce.
A Delicious Secret
Fava beans are just becoming popular as a refreshing summertime snack. Although called “beans,” favas are actually from the pea family. After peeling, substitute fava beans for chick peas in a delicious hummus recipe for a protein-packed snack with raw carrots or crostini. Another delicious option is to add these well-textured, cooked peas to pasta dishes or yummy summer salads.
The Musical Fruit
If you don’t have fava beans on hand for a yummy hummus dip, try black beans instead. Also an excellent source of protein, black beans are high in fiber and calcium – which make them great for strengthening bones and teeth – and they help fight high cholesterol. Don’t just consider black beans for your hummus recipe. Use them in veggie burgers or add them to your favorite quesadilla recipe.
One of the perfect fruits for summertime, strawberries are also considered a “super fruit.” They’re low in calories but provide vitamin C, fiber, folic acid and potassium and they’re high in antioxidants. Strawberries also contain malic acid, which is a naturally-occurring acid that can whiten teeth – use the pulp with baking soda to naturally whiten your smile. A word of warning: strawberries also contain sugar, so brush your teeth with regular toothpaste after whitening to avoid any unforeseen tooth decay.
Dunk Those Strawberries in Chocolate!
Cocoa powder is known for its abundance of flavonoids, which helps fight high blood pressure and naturally improves oral health. Seek out dark chocolate that is at least 70% pure cocoa and avoid any that has been processed with alkali, which strips chocolate of these valuable flavonoids. Then melt this yummy, silky chocolate and dip those strawberries for a fantastic summertime treat!
Kelly Wilson is a freelance writer who loves the fresh foods that summer provides. For more information about how to best take care of your teeth, visit Dr. Paul Chung, a Sedation Dentist in Portland, Oregon.