Healthy Eating: Top 5 healthy summer foods

Find out what are the best foods to eat to help beat the heat while lounging at the pool or beach.

June 2, 2013 12:28
4 minute read.
Tel Aviv beach

Tel Aviv beach 370. (photo credit: Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

When it comes to summer, there is no doubt that most of us want to be outside. Whether it's tanning at the beach, running around in the park or jumping in and out of the pool – summertime means outside time. However, these activities aren't always accompanied by healthy food. It’s ironic since most summertime activities demand slightly skimpy or even bathing suit attire, and yet the fatty foods and salty snacks commonly available to us leave us feeling less comfortable in our summertime wardrobe. On top of this, these foods do little to hydrate us or invigorate us as we lounge around in the heat.

So to lend a helping hand before you hit the beach or pool, here are a few healthy snacks to throw in your bag next to your hat, sunscreen and towel.

Pass the pineapple

Refreshingly juicy, pineapple is without doubt one of the best beach time snacks. However, there is more to this tropical fruit than being a tasty treat. Pineapple is loaded with Vitamin C, which helps to produce collagen to keep your skin looking firm while you run or lounge under the summer sun.

Pineapple is also an excellent source of fiber, which will help keep you full, and prevent you from snacking on salty and bloating treats. However, both of these nutrients can be found in other fruits, and vegetables.

So what makes pineapple so special? The secret is an unusual enzyme known as Bromelain. This enzyme has been shown to aid in digestion, prevent inflammation and help reduce gas – all of which are great benefits when hitting the beach. 

Cool as a cucumber

Extremely low in calories, cucumbers are an excellent beach time treat. However, this green vegetable is more than just an (almost) zero-calorie treat.  Cucumbers are nearly 96 percent water, which is why they are so low in calories - and so will keep you hydrated as you bake in the sun. They will also help to hydrate you on the outside, as the sun rays and salt water can leave your skin feeling dry and your hair brittle. What’s more, cucumbers are a natural diuretic, and so will leave you feeling ready to slip into a bikini.

Now if that wasn’t enough to bring cucumbers to the beach (or pool), then how about this: Placing slices of cucumbers on the skin can help to alleviate inflammation. Just place a slice over your eyes and watch the bags fade away. Additionally, they can be used to treat sunburn just like aloe.

Finally, and maybe most interestingly, studies have also found that cucumbers can be a great hangover cure as they contain enough B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish many essential nutrients, reducing the intensity of both hangovers and headaches.

Pop some red grapes

Sweet and delicious (red) grapes are an ideal and healthy way to re-energize while hanging out in the sun. However, aside from giving you a slight sugar buzz, grapes, like pineapple, act as an anti-inflammatory and help to reduce bloating.

These tiny fruits are also loaded with quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that provides many health benefits, including acting as a potent anti-histamine, and so will provide much relief to allergy sufferers when they run, play or just lounge in the grass.

Freshen up with some mint

Eating mint leaves is an exceptional way to cool off and freshen up on a hot summer day. However, there is far more that this cooling herb can do for you: it also helps to sooth the stomach in the case of indigestion and inflammation, leaving you feeling comfortable to show off your tummy in your bikini. 

Mix in up with melon

Just like cucumbers, melons are extremely dense in water and help to keep us cool, refreshed and most importantly hydrated while at the beach. However, there is more to melon than just H20.

This group of fruits is loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, most notably potassium – an essential mineral that offers a host of health benefits. The number one benefit being that potassium acts as an electrolyte in our body, and therefore helps to regulate fluid levels in the body. Potassium also helps to reduce the effects of sodium in the body, which causes unsightly bloating. 

Now there are many different types of melon – cantaloupe (orange), honeydew (green) and casaba (yellow), and each offers its own unique health benefits and therefore should all be included in your snack time at the beach.  However, there is one melon that really steals the summer spotlight. You probably guessed it – watermelon. If the name didn’t give it away, watermelon is over 90% water, which makes it the ultimate summer treat.

In addition to keeping you hydrated, recent studies have found that consuming foods high in water may keep you feeling full and satisfied longer. And so this pink (lycopene rich) treat may help to deter you from snacking on less healthy foods.

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