Summer Ingredients 4 the Heart
Posted: June 24, 2013
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
Fresh, local produce make your recipes extra delicious and nutritious. This time of year, gardens are growing, fruit trees are ripening, farmers' markets and vegetable stands are in business. Summer is the perfect time to stock up on delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs to create a diet that is low in calories and packed with antioxidants and vitamins.
Here are four popular summer ingredients that will add flavor to your meals and health to your heart:
There are countless ways to get fresh produce like planting a garden, participating in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) with a local farm, or attending events like the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market! With producers from over 51 counties in Iowa, this is an excellent resource for fresh fruit, vegetable, herbs, eggs, cheeses and so much more. It's becoming easier and easier to eat fresh and reap the benefits of healthy nutrition!
- Basil, considered "The King of herbs", is rich in over 80 nutrients, antioxidants and chemical compounds that are known to have numerous disease preventing and health promoting benefits. Basil herb has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, promotes healthy vision, strengthens bones and helps control heart rate and blood pressure!
- Tomatoes are often considered a vegetable, but they are actually a citrus fruit rich in substance. Lycopene is known to ward off cancer and nutrients like niacin, folate, vitamins B6, C and A prevent DNA damage, fight inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease!
- Sweet corn is much lower in calories than field corn, and comes from simpler carbohydrates like glucose and sucrose. Because of this, sweet corn is considered gluten-free and may be used safely much like rice and quinoa in celiac disease individuals. Sweet corn is also high in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and ferulic acid which plays a vital role in preventing cancers, aging and inflammation.
- Bell peppers contain an impressive list of disease preventing and health promoting properties. Fresh bell peppers are rich source of Vitamin-C (especially in red peppers), a potent water-soluble antioxidant required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs and bones. Along with Vitamin A and other essential minerals, these vitamins boost immunity and fight free radicals.