Have you ever thought about why certain fruits and veggies are more abundant in certain seasons? Nature’s produce cycle actually supports our body’s needs, and gently leads us from season to season. For example, our bodies require more water in the summer months, and summer-season foods such as watermelon, berries and cucumbers help us stay hydrated and cool. In the fall, transition foods such as apples and root vegetables help us acclimate to the upcoming cooler months. (More on Fall foods next month!)
There are many reasons to eat seasonally (and locally, if you can). Seasonal eating is kinder to the environment, requiring fewer pesticides and chemicals to nurture growth, and reducing the need for preservatives. Seasonal foods are also grown locally, reducing fuel and transportation costs – often called “food mileage” or “food’s carbon footprint.” In addition, seasonal foods can ripen naturally in the sun and optimal weather, providing more antioxidants for our good health.
Pump Up Your Water, Naturally!
I mentioned earlier that summer is an important time to focus on hydration. But if you think water is “boring,” try these natural additions that not only add flavor, but also add healthy nutrition.
▪ A handful of blueberries. One of summer’s favorite fruits, blueberries provide antioxidants, which help our bodies fight disease, including cancer. The dark skin of blueberries is where most of the nutrition is; try mashing the berries in the bottom of an 8-ounce glass, then pour in natural spring water for great flavor in every sip.
▪ Juice a little watermelon. Watermelon is one of the richest sources of lycopene, a powerful carotenoid antioxidant (known for its heart-protecting, anti-stroke properties). In fact, watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes! Watermelon is also known for its l-citrulline, an amino acid, which studies show may protect against muscle pain. Try adding one cup of watermelon chunks and mixing it with mint and spring water over ice for a refreshing drink.
▪ Slice a few cucumbers. Seasonal cucumbers help keep our bodies hydrated while helping to eliminate toxins. As a good source of vitamin B, they may also boost your energy. Cucumbers also contain three types of lignans, which scientists have connected to reduced risk of several kinds of cancer, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. To mix with water, choose Kirby or “burpless” cucumbers, because the skin is less thick and waxy. Scrub the skin well, then slice and add to water.
Now you have some great ways to drink water and achieve your goal of staying hydrated!