Every year, I wait anxiously for the summer fruits and veggies to land in the local market – if only I could just live on watermelon and blueberries. A true sign of summer’s arrival, the colorful array of yummy, refreshing picks bring a sense of being forever young with reminescence of childhood splendor, family picnics, and backyard barbeques. And, if that isn’t enough to bring on a party in the produce section, listen to this. Many common summer foods have properties that boost your health and beauty in ways you might not know.
Most of us know that eating raw food is good for us, but knowing specifically why helps us to understand our bodies and achieve the level of health that can be elusive for some. Thankfully, you don’t have to comsume a diet of only boring, bland foods to reap the beauty benefits I’m going to share with you…no, you get to enjoy the process with mouth-watering summer bounties. I’ve chosen five foods that you can start eating more of today.
1. Cherries – Pain relief without the side-effects
Not only are these beautiful, luscious mini-fruits a wonderful snack, they are known to be great for warding off pain and inflammation according to researchers at Michigan State University. Antioxidants called anthocyanins block certain enzymes from sending pain signals to the brain. Who would have thought that two cups of this summer favorite could be better than two aspirin. Additionally, new research suggests that they are linked to reducing risks for heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancers. Want a good night sleep? Eat a cup of ripe cherries an hour before bed. They contain melatonin, a natural chemical that the body needs to regulate sleep patterns.
2. Blueberries – Brain food, Fat-burner, “Super Food”
Wow, what a great way to get smarter, thinner, and healthier! The great thing about blueberries is they are so versatile and easy to eat. Smoothies, pancakes, fruit salad, yogurt, all just a few ways to enjoy them. And, adding just a half a cup of this antioxidant-filled fruit to your daily menu can help neutralize free radicals that damage cells. They also protect our bodies from developing cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, and certain cancers, according to Lynda Johnson, R.D., Nutrition & Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Because of the sugar-balancing attributes of blueberries, you can fend off cravings that naturally lead to bad choices, the sugar-high/crash syndrome, and weight gain. Start eating those little blue powerhouses and shave off up to 5% of your body weight in six months. The key is consistency as the researchers at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas have learned.
3. Watermelon – A Sleep aid?
This is one that I did not know. Watermelon contains chemicals that speed up the body’s production of tryptophan and serotonin, both brain compounds that trigger sleep. Australian researchers have found that just one cup of the juicy favorite before bedtime can lull you to sleep twice as fast as those who don’t eat it. The picnic staple is also 90% water which hydrates, refreshes, and sends an “I’m full” signal to your brain so you think twice about that second helping of pie.
4. Carrots – Beauty Treatment
We have long known some of the powerful benefits of eating carrots. I, for one, love the taste and the satisfying crunchiness of the veggie; in salads, juiced, and just by themselves raw are several ways I enjoy them. Recently, I found another benefit besides the carotenoids (metabolic precursors to vitamin A) and the generous supply of beta-carotene; carrots are fabulous for topical beauty treatments. For an at home facial, try the following recipe for supple, glowing skin.
Carrot-Honey Mask (Normal to Oily Skin)
2-3 large carrots,
4 1/2 Tablespoons of honey
Cook the carrots and mash together with the honey. Gently apply to dry face; wait 10 minutes.Rinse with warm water. For those of you who prefer to buy your products, try Yes To Carrots Night Moisturizing Cream, Dry to Sensitive Skin, , 1.7-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 2).
5. Plums – Get Bikini Ready
With just one plum a day you can shrink those spider veins and flush out unwanted fat. According to studies, the high levels of vitamin K help produce a clotting agent called thrombin that heals and fades bruises and varicose veins. And, a high content of vitamin C helps your body to digest food more quickly so fats and toxins don’t even get the chance to absorb. Sounds like a winning combo for a sexy bikini body-or at least one that looks better in summer apparel.
Next time you go shopping pick up some or all of these seasonal foods for a nutritional boost that will make you healthy and beautiful from the inside out. I hope you have a wonderful summer! Be well.
**The content presented in this article is meant to be informational only and not to replace advice from your health care provider. The website, Women’s Life Link, it’s authors, and associates make no claims that any information will lead to an improvement or cure to any disease or condition.
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