This season is probably the most nutrient abundant in terms of seasonal fruits and produce. It’s amazing how much is harvested in the summer months, and it’s a great time to maybe try discontinuing your daily multi vitamin and try to get added vitamins and nutrients from the colorful foods that are available.I know that juices and smoothies are really popular this time of year, and I would also encourage everyone to try eating their fruits and veggies in their whole form, for at least one meal a day too. Some of my favorite nutrient dense, colorful summer veggies include red and golden beets, purple and orange carrots, red peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and rainbow chard. My favorite super fruits in summer are blueberries and blackberries which are mineral powerhouses, jam packed with antioxidants. I’ll throw out there that my favorite food of all time is peaches…so I’m clearly partial to the summer season because I can gorge on these euphorically sweet fuzzy delights.
With more color comes more nutrients in our foods, and as a general rule of thumb if we can increase the amount of naturally occurring color in our diets, we often get an added boost of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants. These include nutrients like lycomepe, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, folate, iron and of course fiber to name a few. Here’s a re-cap of the summer vegetable nutrient color offering and their effects on organ systems:
Purple Vegetables – Nourish the blood; Tones cardiovascular system; Contains anthocyanins to strengthen capillary tone; high in antioxidants.
Examples: eggplant, red onion, purple cabbage, beets, blueberries
Red Vegetables – Contain lots of lycopene, lutein, zeozanthin and are great for the heart and cardiovascular system
Orange Vegetables – Contain beta carotene which is important for immune system and essential for cell-to-cell communication. Contain Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium.
Example: Carrots, golden beets
Green Vegetables – Especially dark leafy & brassicas are important for multiple organ system detoxification; useful in hormonal imbalance; increases liver detoxification (gets rid of excess hormone supplies); LOADED with vitamins and minerals. Contains vitamin C, K, folate, iron, lutein and fiber.
Examples: kale, broccoli, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens
White/Green Vegetables – Extremely nutritive to immune and lymphatic system. Contain vitamin B-2 and allicin.
Examples: garlic, onions, leeks, chives
If you walk into Ellwood Thompsons lately, you’ll be blown away by the burst of color that greets you at the front door. Their produce section is overflowing with seasonal veggies and fruits that make it nearly impossible to make it through a day without eating at least 5 different colors. Try to make that a priority while so much is available, and see how adding more color to your daily diet enhances your overall health!
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com