Updated: May 14
From half-day Fridays to idyllic beach getaways, summer is the perfect time to take things slow and enjoy the great outdoors before the colder temperatures creep back in.
Unfortunately, for many of us, summer is also the time when tons of unhealthy foods —like oversized frozen cocktails, sugary carnival treats, and deep-fried seafood—make their way onto our menus, leaving us stuffed and bloated.
Help is here. With all the fresh fruits and vegetables reaching peak ripeness in the summer, it’s not hard to swap out those fattening foods for waist-friendly ones that are just as delicious. To get beach-ready by summer, add these essential superfoods to your menu today
Stay cool as a cucumber this summer by making this crunchy veggie part of your menu. Super-hydrating cucumber is low in calories, loaded with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, and can even reduce your risk of hypertension. Researchers in Indonesia discovered a significant reduction in blood pressure among elderly women whose diets were supplemented with cucumber juice, suggesting this tasty veggie may even help you live longer. And who doesn’t want that?
Ceviche is a great choice for those hot summer nights when you want a quick and easy meal but are trying to ignore the lure of takeout menus lurking in your kitchen drawer. Combining citrus with omega-3-rich fish, which help you feel full while fighting inflammation and reducing your risk of heart disease, is a low-calorie way to satisfy your hunger. Even better, studies suggest the spicy peppers and lime juice used to flavor this popular Latin American dish can help you slim down. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition reveals that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their spice, helps overweight subjects lose significantly more fat after the study ended than those offered a placebo.
While it would be difficult to make the case for deep-fried tortilla chips as health food, their tastiest accoutrement, guacamole, certainly is. Avocados are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat, while add-on ingredients, like jalapeños, lime juice, and quercetin-rich onions, have all been linked to weight loss.
This coral-colored crustacean is no slouch when it comes to your health. Not only are shrimp a good source of low-calorie protein, they’re also a good source of inflammation-fighting omega-3s, which may help speed up your weight loss efforts, too.
Instead of slapping another artery-clogging burger on the grill, lighten up your summer fare by enjoying some salmon instead. Chock full of protein and omega-3s, salmon is a heart-healthy choice that can make it easy to meet your health-related goals all season long. Just make sure you’re opting for wild-caught fish instead of farmed salmon; wild salmon has lower levels of inflammation-promoting omega-6 and has higher omega-3 levels.