Summer Fruits and Vegetables With Big Health Benefits

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One of my favorite ways to keep my meals healthy and fresh is to take advantage of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are in season. I love to take advantage of local fruits and vegetables to ensure I get the freshest produce.

In the late spring/summer months, my favorite farmers’ market in Santa Monica is like a rainbow. As the citrus season ends, bright berries and lush green lettuces shine. Not only are late springtime and summer fruits and vegetables delicious and beautiful, but they also hold incredible healing support for your body.  

Here’s a list of my favorite summer produce and suggestions to help you enjoy eating them! Plus, it will keep you from wondering, “What fruits and vegetables are in season now?” and instead focus on keeping cool and having a delicious and healthy summer season. 

Blueberries 

These little berries can have a big impact on your overall health. High in fiber, they’re the perfect weight-loss snack. By keeping you feeling full longer they help you to avoid snacking between meals. Their high fiber content can also aid in regulating digestion. Polyphenols in blueberries inhibit inflammation, helping to minimize free radicals that lead to premature aging, chronic disease, and autoimmune disorders.

Tasty Tip: I especially love blueberries in the morning in an almond milk matcha latte! The flesh out any smoothie with added fiber and a tart taste.

Strawberries 

One of my favorite signs that summer has arrived is strawberry season. Almost nothing compares to a fresh, still-warm-from-the-sun strawberry from a fruit stand. Nothing feels more like summer than cruising down the PCH right by the Pacific Ocean and grabbing fresh from the vine strawberries! 

Their high vitamin A and C levels help detoxify your body while neutralizing inflammation. Strawberries also aid in balancing your gut pH level.  Folate, a B vitamin found in these super-berries, supports the tissue development required for a healthy pregnancy. Folate also aids in preventing anemia. It also can improve skin elasticity and overall skin hydration.

Tasty Tip: Slice fresh, organic strawberries from your local farmers’ market for a simple dessert. When in season, their natural sweetness can satisfy the most intense sweet tooth!

Kale 

There’s a good reason kale has become popular in the United States over the last few years. A member of the cabbage family, kale is very high in iron and supports healthy circulation and blood cell health. It’s also high in fiber and sulfur, which improve liver health. Kale also contains more calcium than milk per calorie which helps support good bone health without fat and hormones.

Tasty Tip: Chiffonade some kale and add it to a picnic slaw or salad! Cutting it into very thin strips makes it more pleasant to chew while adding a bold punch of flavor, color, and nutrients.

Peas

Peas are sweet-tasting but you may not realize that they can support healthy blood sugar levels. They’re a low glycemic-index vegetable with a very high level of protein and fiber. This helps regulate the rate sugar is released into your bloodstream. Peas help you feel fuller longer and can potentially help you manage a healthy weight. High in plant-based protein, peas also contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Tasty Tip: Make a simple summer soup by pureeing peas and broth with your favorite herbs – you can serve it warm or cold! 

Rhubarb 

High in Vitamin K, rhubarb contributes to increased bone health. It contains at least ten antioxidants, including epicatechin, myricetin, hyperoside, and quercitrin. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals, improving your complexion, increasing your energy, and possibly preventing the development of chronic diseases triggered by inflammation. Rhubarb is also a digestive aid high in fiber and has been used to relieve tummy troubles like constipation for centuries.

Tasty Tip: Slice rhubarb and pears then sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until soft for a comforting breakfast or dessert!

Watermelon

This summer favorite is a staple at family gatherings and barbeques. But watermelon is not just a fresh summer treat it also has a ton of health benefits. At 91% water, it’s a natural way to rehydrate and keep cool. It’s full of vitamins A and C, B vitamins, and potassium.  It contains the antioxidant lycopene, which can protect against certain cancers and heart disease. It’s a great low-calorie snack that’s fun for the whole family. 

Try this: For a spicy summer sweet add a little Tajín topping which will take your watermelon in a bold new direction. Add other seasonal fruits for a bold fruit salad. 

Cherries 

Who doesn’t love sitting on the beach and munching on some rich, tart cherries? 

Cherries are an excellent source of anthocyanins and flavonoids which can help protect you against chronic illnesses like cancer. The phytochemicals in cherries have been shown to lower body inflammation. They’re also chock full of vitamin C and fiber which can help you feel full and prevent disease. 

Tasty Tip: Use cherries to add tang and sweetness to smoothies. You can also use them to sweeten your breakfast as a topping for your oatmeal, toast, or gluten-free pancakes. 

Zucchini

This versatile veggie is a great addition to a low-carb diet. It’s not just low in calories but is also high in potassium and manganese. These minerals are vital for regulating your sodium levels, can lower blood pressure, and aid in the formation of connective tissue. Zucchini also supplies vitamin C and energy-boosting B vitamins.

Tasty Tip: Try raw zucchini for a tangy crunchy snack with your favorite dips like hummus. A healthier alternative to processed crunchy snacks like potato chips and pretzels it provides the same mouthfeel with greater health benefits. 

 

The summer is a season full of flavorful, vibrant produce. I hope you enjoyed this summer produce list so you can know what’s in season and plan your meals accordingly. Here’s hoping they help you stay cool and keep your summer beach body. 

 

XO – Serena

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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