Published July 18, 2012
| The Daily Meal
Just as you change your wardrobe for summer, your diet should get a bit of a makeover as well. As the dog days of summer are upon us, you need to fuel your body with foods that help maintain energy levels despite the hot temperatures.
The summer heat affects your body in numerous ways, from sunburns to swelling to heat exhaustion — the summer can mentally and physically drain you. To attempt to fight the heat you can consume foods that keep you cool and are packed full of nutrition. These foods have a range of benefits, from helping your skin repair to detoxing your system.
The best choices for summer are prescribed all year long — eat plenty of fruit, never skip vegetables, and eat lean protein, but TDM has narrowed down these suggestions to the foods that are most beneficial to help you compete with the blazing summer sun.
Watermelon is an essential asset for every summer diet, mainly because it hydrates the body (hence the root word water). Watermelons are comprised of 92 percent water and 6 percent sugar, so while it is hydrating the body it also helps to maintain electrolytes that are lost by excessive sweating. Watermelon is packed with vitamins, containing 20 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, which helps with eye health, and vitamin C, which improves your immune system. No worries about this summer fruit affecting your waistline either, with only 46 calories in a one cup serving.
Oranges are another great source of hydration, since their composition is about 81 percent water. Besides being full of vitamin C, oranges are also packed with thiamin, which is a mineral that helps turn sugar into energy as well as helps to maintain cardiovascular and nervous systems. Oranges help to keep your energy up in the sweltering heat.
The benefits of eating salmon are just about endless. Four ounces of salmon contain the total recommended daily amount of vitamin D, while smaller amounts of the vitamin are provided through sunlight. So instead of burning in the sun for your vitamin D intake, eat salmon. Salmon is also filled with magnesium, which strengthens bones, and good fats such as omega-3 oil that help reduce inflammation.
At four calories per serving, arugula is packed with calcium. Arugula is also a substantial source of vitamin K and folate, which encourages the production of new cells. The vitamins and minerals in arugula encourage healing from summertime injuries.
Along with its many diverse uses, turkey is a great source of vitamin B and selenium. In addition, it's a great alternative to beef if you are to use turkey that is 90 percent lean. The last thing you want to feel is weighed down in the summer, so trade in the beef burger for turkey.
Broccoli is a great vegetable to consume all year long. A serving of broccoli has 4% percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium, which is about the same or more than a cup of milk. Broccoli is also a great source of potassium. Besides being a source of beta-carotene, and high in fiber, broccoli is full of glucoraphanin, which helps repair skin from damage induced from the sun.
Peppers are also another summertime favorite. There is a wide variety of options when it comes to this vegetable. While bell peppers are a great source of vitamin E and alpha and beta carotene, jalapeños boost your metabolism. Peppers can go on the grill and add flavor to any dish.
Cilantro is an herb you can throw in to add a unique flavor to turkey, chicken, or fish, but it also has great benefits for your body. Cilantro assists digestion because it is full of dietary fiber. This splendid herb has been used as a tea to detox the body and to reduce nausea. When the heat is catching up with you, cilantro can calm your stomach.
Along with being fat-free and incredibly delicious, pineapples contain bromelain, which is an enzyme that helps with digestion and fight against the formation of blood clots. Pineapple can help prevent swelling, which is most common during the summer. So go ahead and throw a few pineapples into your summer cocktail.
Although some of the suggested super foods can hydrate the body, nothing replaces water. Water hydrates you and replaces what you lose through sweat, but additional benefits of drinking water include regulating your body temperature to prevent heat exhaustion and flushing the kidneys of toxins. Water drives your digestive system and plays a vital role in every system of the body, so it's no surprise that your body is made of 60 percent water.
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