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12 Jul 2019
Healing Foods for Summer
These days it is easy to forget that foods have a season, as so many items are available in the supermarket’s month in and month out. Many of the healing foods available to us have exceptional abilities, and even more so when they are eaten fresh and in keeping with their peak season of growing.
So, today we explore some of the best healing foods to choose from this July:
Aubergines – Choose firm glossy skinned examples. Leave the skin on, and eat quickly after purchasing. Dark purple foods are rich in polyphenol – an antioxidant. They also contain beta-carotene, fibre, they boost gut flora and balance blood sugars.
Beetroot – Eat fresh in salads, juice it, or even roast it. Try to use the leaves as well, that are nutrient dense. Beetroot has a unique antioxidant called betacyanin. It aids digestion, purifies blood, supports circulation and the liver.
Blackberries – Are best eaten fresh at room temperature. The berries are detoxifying, they fight free radical damage. They are great for skin health, for the gut from their fibre, and are even thought to help lower blood pressure.
Blackcurrants – Can be a little sour, so sugar is often added. An alternative is to make a tea from the leaves or even use as a seed oil. They contain good amounts of vitamin C and potassium. They protect against neuro-degeneration and promote good vision.
Carrots – The body makes vitamin A from the beta-carotene found in vegetables like carrots. They are great for sight, cholesterol, skin and weight control. Eat some raw, and some cooked. Even the green tops can be used in salads. Don’t forget to try purple carrots!
Cherries – Montmorency with a vibrant red colour have the most antioxidants of the cherry varieties. They are an anti-inflammatory food, and so are useful for gout and arthritis. They also encourage good sleep! Eaten fresh is best, but they can be frozen for use in baking/smoothies etc. later in the year.
Chicory – This leaf is not liked by everybody as it has a bitter flavour, similar to radicchio lettuces. But it is a great detoxifier and a natural sedative. It holds up well in a salad, and can be used as wrap for those on a low carb plan.
Courgettes – As I’m sure you know courgettes are closely related to squash, melons, marrows and cucumbers. They are very low calorie due to their high-water count, and are a good cleansing food. You can try them raw in salads, cooked or even stuffed.
Green Beans – Including runner beans & broad beans. These beans contain vitamin C, folate, calcium and protein. The boost energy, provide silicon for healthy skin, hair and nails, have vitamin K for bone health and give cellular energy. Use them fresh or their dried counterparts as baked beans or kidney beans for chilli con carne.
Peas – Whether it is mangetout, sugar snaps or petis pois, all peas boost energy, help immunity, fight infection, promote a healthy digestive tract and combat fatigue. Eat them frozen, fresh, tinned or dried – it all counts.
Potatoes (main crop) – Keeping the skins on potatoes helps to get extra nutrients, as does cooking for the least amount of time. Steaming is a great idea so minerals are not lost in cooking water. They balance acidity, help with inflammation, ulcers and blood circulation. They also contain ‘tryptophan’ a natural mild sedative.
Radishes – There are different types of radishes, from French to black, to Daikon (often used in Chinese medicine), so experiment where possible. They support a healthy liver and fight hypertension. They contain B vitamins, and the leaves have 6 times the vitamin C that the root does! You can even try them braised or roasted.
Raspberries – Are a metabolic aid, helping to minimise the absorption of fat, at the same time as regulating metabolism. They are rich in tannins, and so make a good tea, and they are also packed with cancer fighting phytonutrients. Best eaten raw and when at the peak of ripeness.
Strawberries – Have heart healthy properties and also benefit the digestion system. The seeds on their outside actually contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They are best eaten seasonally, and at room temperature. If you can ‘Pick Your Own’ – all the better.
Swiss Chard – Is a good source of antioxidant carotenoids, as well as phytonutrients that protect blood sugar levels and the pancreas. It is fibre rich and high in vitamin K. It is a great alternative to kale or spinach if you fancy a change. It can be a little bitter and so lends itself to cooking with slightly sweeter veg like sweet potato.
Tomatoes – Such an everyday food, but one that packs a health punch. They contain high levels of lycopene, which is actually heighted once the tomatoes are cooked. They can be used in so many ways: juiced, as a drink, raw, cooked and tinned products are great. Why not try heirloom varieties, as well as green, purple and yellow tomatoes. Or even grow some of your own.
Watercress – Is actually part of the ‘cruciferous family’ – think broccoli and cabbage… It boosts immunity, is a natural antibiotic and balances the body’s water level. Eat as fresh as possible, as with time it loses nutrients. Fresh or juiced works well.Tweet