Summer self-care guidebook: Five foods that are a MUST have in your diet during Summer

Summer self-care guidebook: Five foods that are a MUST have in your diet during Summer

Posted by Shruti Pethkar on

Be it the king of fruits or the refreshing watermelon, summer has always been a bittersweet experience for most of us. With delicious tropical fruits comes a not-so-pleasant heat that’s an indispensable part of the whole summer experience. While most of us are not that affected by the heat, there are still some who find it unbearable. The damage from UV rays is prevalent irrespective of your heat tolerance. Sure, you can douse yourself in sunscreen, moisturizer & whatnot but here’s the thing- Nothing works better than a good diet.

You might have heard the phrase “You are what you eat” which stands true to in the literal sense. A lifestyle filled with processed foods is bound to make your body look like a refinery of health conditions. Our bodies need whole foods that contain the nourishing touch of nature to sustain numerous bodily functions. So when your doctor or dietitian says “Eat Healthy”, what they actually mean is to start eating more whole foods & what’s within the cardboard box that has a “Healthy Food” tag sitting on the shelf of a supermarket.

Eating seasonal produce is one of the easiest ways to get on track toward a healthy & wholesome diet. One of the primary reasons why this is true is because produce that has been harvested during the season contains high levels of nutrients like vitamins, minerals & antioxidants as compared to other foods. Seasonal produce also contains complementary compounds that are necessary for our bodies in that specific season. For example, eating watermelons during summer helps you stay hydrated, or munching on a cucumber will help you power through the heat.

Research supports the benefits of eating seasonal produce. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that strawberries harvested in-season contained more vitamin C and antioxidants compared to out-of-season strawberries. Another study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that seasonal produce contained higher levels of polyphenols and other antioxidants compared to out-of-season produce. Also, consuming seasonal produce is environmentally viable as well, meaning both nature & your health can benefit from a simple switch.

With that being said, we have a list of summer-favourite seasonal foods that are a MUST have in your diet. These foods contain everything you need to stay healthy with a flavour you definitely cannot miss. So, without further ado, let’s dive into learning more about five summer foods that are a must-have during summer!

1. Cucumber
If you’re planning to be cool this summer you’ll have to be cool like the cucumber. The best thing is that you don’t have to set a reminder to drink water if you’re munching on fresh cucumbers all summer. Cucumbers have a water content of something around 96% which makes them one of the most refreshing sources of hydration you can get your hands on during summer. Cucumbers also contain Vitamin K & Vitamin C along with minerals like magnesium, dietary fiber & potassium. In general, adding Cucumbers to your diet can boost your digestive health & skin health thanks to the fiber & antioxidants within this vegetable. Lastly, Cucumbers contain a compound called silica, a mineral that can help improve skin health and promote collagen production.

On average a medium-sized cucumber contains about 45 Calories, 0.3g Fat, 11g Carbs, 2g Fiber. 5g Sugar, 2g Protein, Vitamins C (14% of RDV), K (62% of RDV) along with Magnesium (10 of RDV)) & Potassium (13% of RDV).

2. Watermelon
Summers have always been synonymous with that unforgettable bite into a juicy watermelon. But there’s a long list of health benefits that this summer favourite has to offer which will make you like watermelons even more! This fruit contains around 92% water along with vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium & Lycopene. Research & studies have shown that consuming watermelons can hydrate you, prevent heart & digestion-related complications and contribute towards healthier skin. Lycopene, an antioxidant found in watermelons promotes collagen production, reduces damage caused by free radicles & reduces fine lines and wrinkles. To summarize, watermelons are a source of lycopene which contain powerful antioxidants that protect against skin damage, promote collagen promotion & improve skin health.

The nutritional values of watermelons (or any other food) depend on various factors but an average serving of watermelon (150 grams) contains about 46 Calories, 0.2g Fat, 12g Carbohydrates, 0.6g Fiber. 9g Sugar, 1g Protein, Vitamins A (18% of RDV), C (21of RDV) & minerals like Potassium (5% of RDV).

3. Coconut Water
Although coconuts are available throughout the year (in India), there is something about Coconut water that’s synonymous with summer. It might be a refreshing sip after an adventurous road trip or that nostalgic college days banter with friends near the tender coconut stall, coconut water has no haters & that’s a fact! Apart from this Coconut Water is known to have a ton of health benefits & is considered to be one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. Known for its hydration coconut water contains a mixture of electrolytes which makes it ideal for summer. It also contains nutrients such as Vitamin C, Iron & calcium which help with immunity, strength & bone health respectively. The presence of potassium helps in maintaining our heart health by reducing blood pressure, something our bodies can benefit from especially during summer.

A 240ml serving of Coconut Water contains about 46 Calories, 0.5g Carbohydrates, 3g Fiber, 6.3g Sugar, 1.7g Protein, Vitamin C (10% of RDV), Calcium (6% of RDV), Iron (4% of RDV) & Potassium (17% of RDV).

4. Spinach
We bet you didn’t expect Spinach to be on this list that seemed like “all things refreshing”. Well, we do agree that Spinach doesn’t fit into the glam girl summer vibe BUT adding this leafy green to your diet can do wonders not only for your health but to the skin as well. With an arsenal of powerful compounds like Vitamin C & beta-carotene, regular consumption of Spinach can help with premature aging, sun damage & even skin cancer. Spinach contains compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. Being a nutrient-dense, low-calorie & hydrating food Spinach makes it to the top five list of the healthiest foods to have during summer.

A 30f cup of Spinach contains around 7 Calories, 0.1g Fat, 1.1g Carbohydrates, 0.7g Fiber, 0.1g Sugar, 0.9g Protein, Vitamin A (56% of RDV), Vitamin C (14% of RDV), Vitamin K (181% of RDV), Folate (15% of RDV), Iron (5% of RDV) & Calcium (3% of RDV). Phew! That was a long list, maybe sipping on some coconut water will energize you to keep reading? (Wink)

5. Mango
Summer is the perfect time to indulge in seasonal fruits that offer a plethora of health benefits. Mango, one of the most popular fruits of the season, is a rich source of nutrients and can be enjoyed in many ways. Firstly, mango is a great source of water, which helps keep the body hydrated during hot summer days. It also contains vitamin C, which supports the immune system and can reduce the risk of infections. In addition, it is rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamin C, which help protect the skin from free radical damage caused by sun exposure and pollution. Mango also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for eye health and can protect against age-related eye diseases. While it is important to consume mango in moderation due to its high sugar content, incorporating this delicious fruit into your summer diet can provide numerous health benefits.

One cup of sliced mango (165 grams) contains 99 calories, 1.4 grams of protein, 0.6 grams of fat, and 24.7 grams of carbohydrates, including 2.6 grams of fiber and 22.5 grams of sugar. It is also, a good source of vitamin C, providing 67% of the recommended daily intake, and contains smaller amounts of vitamin A, folate, and vitamin K.

Make sure you have a full pantry along with a summer-ready skincare kit that will let you unfurl the fun! It’s important to note that these recommendations have been put forth considering availability, health benefits & cost per unit, you can eat whatever floats your boat. Just make sure to stay hydrated, apply sunscreen & enjoy the summer like a boss.

Happy Summers to you, Cheers!

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