9 Summer Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

The health benefits of these nine summer foods may surprise you. Read on for extra reasons to consume these nourishing nibbles this summer.

Watermelon

This juicy and refreshing fruit will not only quench your thirst, but will also deliver a dose of vitamins A, C, potassium, and the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene, according to WebMD. It’s also one of the richest natural sources of the amino acid L-citrulline, which helps regulate arterial function and may lower blood pressure, as discovered by researchers in a 2010 Florida State University study.

Shrimp

Yes, shrimp contains cholesterol, but many researchers think that the cholesterol you consume from food plays a negligible effect on cholesterol in your bloodstream (that number tends to spike in response to a higher intake of certain saturated and trans fats). Shrimp is also high in protein, low in fat, and a good source of heart-protective omega-3s and vitamin B12, according toOutside magazine.

Iceberg Lettuce

Darker greens may have more nutrients, says Prevention magazine, but that doesn’t mean iceberg has none. If an iceberg wedge is your favourite salad, note that one cup of shredded leaves delivers about 20 per cent of your daily needs for vitamin K, and 15 per cent for vitamin A. Even if you use iceberg as a salad base for other healthy veggies, you’ve got a great vehicle for overall nutrition.

Popcorn

Real, popped-at-home corn is a terrifically healthy snack. It may even have more antioxidants than certain fruits and vegetables, researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found last year. Air-popped and without butter, it’s low in fat and high in fibre, saysToday nutrition expert Joy Bauer, RD: “five grams of fibre in a four-cup portion is pretty darn impressive for a snack food.”

Potatoes

This starch gets a bad rap, in part because it’s so easy to fatten up with oil, cheese, or creamy sauces. But baked at home, the humble potato is actually nutritious. According to Cooking Light, one 160-calorie medium potato is one of the best sources of heart-healthy potassium and fibre.

Celery

Celery boasts a surprising array of good-for-you nutrients, including anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe your digestive tract, disease-fighting antioxidants, and vitamins such as folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Crunch on that next time you swirl it around your Bloody Maryor use as a vessel for French onion dip.

Sunflower Seeds

Nuts are a healthy snack favourite among nutritionists and other health experts, but don’t forget about sunflower seeds. They are high in vitamin E, magnesium, and thiamin, which helps yourbrain function.

Sauerkraut

Go ahead, pile it on. Fermented foods like sauerkraut are a unique source of probiotics, which help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your belly. “These healthy microbes help with digestion and nutrient absorption,” writes Darya Pino Rose, PhD, in her new book Foodist. “Without them our gut health deteriorates substantially, setting the stage for many chronic diseases.”

Mushrooms

Cooking Light notes that mushrooms are the only vegetable source of vitamin D; and “many compounds have been identified in mushrooms that show potential for boosting immunity and possibly protecting against cancer.

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