10 June 2019

Healthy Summer Eating

Summer is a perfect time to try new fruits and vegetables. They're fresh, abundantly available, and typically less expensive than at other times of the year.

not only do we have so many choices

there are really every stage of preparation it's practically ready for you no matter what you want to do with it there's grill ready vegetables or there's you know salad ready fruit mixes lots of things available and more and more opportunities for buying locally with farmers markets so I would encourage people to check that out and to see what's what's available and also to really spend some time in the produce section to see what's current what's seasonal the summer months are a perfect time to try and do fruits and vegetables the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables offer a variety of healthy choices make it easier to eat light can reduce grocery bills and can be cooked outdoors on the grill to reduce heat buildup in the kitchen on today's sound living 8 healthy summer foods and drinks sound living as a weekly public affairs program produced by research and extension at Kansas State University I'm Jeff Wickman our bodies need water to function properly however if drinking eight or more eight ounce glasses of water a day is difficult k-state research and Extension

nutrition specialist Sandi Proctor suggest eating foods that have a high water content such as watermelon cantaloupe grapefruit strawberries spinach cucumbers celery lettuce and so much more all of which are readily available in the summer and that's part of their claim to fame but it's also an easy way to help people of all ages stay well hydrated and you get a lot of nutrition as you eat those wonderful summer foods watermelon for example has so many nutrients in addition to the fact that it's 97% water but it has fiber and lycopene and vitamins A and C and and low in calories to boot so you can hardly beat it and it's plentiful and just really refreshing so there's all sorts of varieties if you like it's seedless now it's it's pretty much I mean it's it's been made easy for you just spend some time exploring in the produce section this time of year and farmers markets if you have one that's available have just so many things so many fresh and heirloom type fruits and vegetables that it really is the season to become an explorer well along that same line you were able to find some ideas for some really fun and

super healthy summer foods the people might want to look into maybe things they don't always think about when you read this list it's given us permission or even endorsing some of the things that we think of as just super summer pleasures so this is a list that was reported in eating well magazine and it's like the eight super healthy summer foods for enjoying and I really like the list not because it was anything crazy or that I hadn't thought of but the fact that it you know it just really says oh yeah you picked that and not only is it wonderfully tasty it's really good for you too and so the first one on the list is corn sweet corn and it is really strong in to antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin it says in corn may act like natural sunglasses they help protect your eyes and certainly that doesn't mean you go without it but when you eat healthfully there are natural protections that the body can help provide and and that's one that is in several fruits and vegetables but it really does make a difference it can help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and can be something that we do through eating a

varied diet one of the things we just have a lot of kids were cherries and that was on the list yeah and tart cherries you know you hear a lot about that in sort of health food sort of angles tart cherry juice they have a host of health benefits it's supposed to help you get a better night's sleep and quell post-workout pain but it also helps you slim down and get a little bit leaner there was a study at the University of Michigan Health System that was looking at rats but they put them on tart cherry powder and they found that those that had that in their diet gained less weight and body fat and it's because of again those colorful agents the anthocyanins which makes them red and tart they activate a molecule that helps actually speed up fat burning and decrease fat storage not to say that that's a you know a super-duper solution but while we're gonna be enjoying these wonderful seasonal fruits think about how helpful they are at the same time this next one is gonna make the gardener's happy because as understand that this is the most popular garden vegetable tomatoes absolutely you know

when it's a good tomato year you're just practically swimming in them but there's nothing that tastes the same as as a homegrown tomato in fact we were at an event this weekend and the Maine we music was coming on but in the side music they were actually playing this song that had been made famous I think years ago by John Denver about two homegrown tomatoes I think it's love and homegrown Tomatoes and that song voice makes me smile but it it really is the way we feel about real Tomatoes those that are fresh off the vine and and just announce their presence both the smell of a tomato and the smell of the tomato vines but they're so nutritious for us too they actually give you a little protection along the line of sort of a food based sunscreen they contain lycopene which is the carotenoids so the pro-vitamin a food that we turn to vitamin A in our body but it makes Tomatoes red that may protect your skin a little bit from sunburn again not saying go without sunscreen but saying that some of the foods we have actually have naturally protective properties and that makes sense because we talked about them as

containing antioxidants and they actually help cells keep from aging and basically that's what Sun can do to ourselves and so by having natural properties in some of the great foods we eat we're able to add a little bit of protection from the inside we talked about watermelon is is there more benefits than just the hydration well you know the hydration is important to remember it really helps keep your memory sharp and your mood stable it helps keep you cool there's lots of benefits to it and sometimes we think I just can't drink any more water but you can you can definitely get it as you said with lettuce and those tomatoes we were talking about and and watermelon and other melons are just you know at the top of the list and again we've got that lycopene we is that red coloring that we talked about in tomatoes but it's also in in watermelon and it's protects the skin and you can fill up on watermelon and maybe keep from eating higher calorie foods so it's it's very filling it's kind of the the fruit version of popcorn if we fill up on something that's high-fiber and nutritious we may not go

towards some of those higher calorie dense foods raspberries and blueberries are also on that list we hear a lot about blueberries but not quite as much about the health benefits of raspberries well a cup of raspberries has eight grams of fiber so that's that's really power packed when you think about it and what a pleasant way to get eight grams of fiber when you think about eating a cup of of raspberries as opposed to say four slices of whole wheat bread which would be also eight grams of fiber so you know just to really mix it up and get your fiber in a very wonderful seasonal way and you know something that's as bright colored as raspberries is going to have a lot of nutrition because the color just announces that healthy benefit but they did a study that was reported in the journal nutrition that says that eating more fiber may help prevent weight gain or even promote weight loss they did a two-year study and found that when participants boosted their fiber by eight grams so basically a cup of raspberries for every thousand calories they lost about four and a half pounds you know if you increase your fiber

chances are you're going to replace higher calorie less dense foods what about blueberries what's the overriding benefit there well they got so much going for them you read a lot about them as far as memory protection and and all of those foods that were supposed to really seek out but they have antioxidants and they may help ward off muscle fatigue because the antioxidants may actually sort of attract or soak up those free radicals that muscles produced during exercise that eventually create muscle fatigue and that was a study out of New Zealand so we're always looking to find the increased number of benefits to fruits and vegetables beyond the fact that they're readily available in the summertime and just beautiful to the eye as well as to the taste buds and really put a lot of variety into our food choices a couple of other things that kind of surprised me on here were the iced tea and iced coffee because they're not things that I normally think of as being you know a super healthy summer food oh you know tea and coffee are both on sort of what I would consider real of high points as far as the research and what shows for them for

the benefits iced tea may lower your risk of Alzheimer's and diabetes and again we're not talking with sugar added we're talking just the natural form of black tea at this point it really is rich in antioxidants particularly flavonoids and it doesn't really matter it can be black or green or white or herbal it says it's available in all of those and the best way to have it is of course freshly brewed so you know it's most flavorful but those antioxidants are going to be still there they tend to dissipate out if it's been brewed for a while and if you want to keep a batch of cold tea in your refrigerator they recommend that you add a little lemon juice the citric acid and the vitamin C help preserve those flavonoids and keep it more nutritious not to mention just to increase the the flavor of it too so some of the things we do naturally actually enhance the nutritional value of many of the foods we drink and like you mentioned coffee is another one that kind of goes from disfavor sometimes to favored but right now we really are looking at and this is a personal good thing for me you know coffee has a lot of benefits to it

nutritionally it's got some positive to it and drinking it in iced coffee form is actually cooling maybe for some people over just a regular hot cup of coffee there is an interesting study that talks about in more than 93,000 women they looked at those who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee a day so it didn't have to be iced it could be hot or iced that part didn't matter but they reduced their risk of developing skin cancer basically non melanoma skin cancer by about 10% and not only that the more you drank the more protection you seemed to have up to about six cups a day which probably none of us really need that much caffeination although I think there are some that that go there but it does seem to be just with caffeinated coffee and not decaf and that was reported in the European Journal of cancer prevention so it's a large research study done on some of those protective benefits of coffee one thing we wanted to mention was the fact that although we sometimes tend to be more active in the summer when it comes to children sometimes they can be a little less active so we want to make sure that they're getting the proper

nutrition and in the right amounts you know it really depends on everyone's situations a lot of people you think of people being more active and they're out there playing or working hard and and you know the days are longer so they're they're able to be outside more and getting a lot more activity in some cases depending on you know work and summer activities schedules and depending on people's tolerance to heat they may hole up inside and be less active actually to sort of avoid increased activity to stay cool or you know while they're off school and their schedule has really decreased for the summer in some cases and so that's part of the thinking behind the summer meals we know that there are a lot of kids who are hungry in the summer and those meals provide valuable calories and food but they also provide a lot of socialization and there's usually activity along with it so that kids are out active and staying on some sort of a schedule which is important to keep kids kind of moving and thinking and learning and being ready to go back into the schedules and so I know some people might hear this and say oh my gosh we couldn't fit

another thing in our summer schedules and and that certainly is the case with lots but for some families you know it's a real sort of I'm bored mom sort of situation so it's it's important to think about having healthful snacks available and lots of those healthy food choices that even if kids are sort of left to figure out their own meals through the middle of the day that those choices that they have are some of these really helpful available foods that we've talked about and this is certainly one of those times of the year when there is a wide variety of foods available so you've really got a lot of choices yes and the other thing that I've noticed is not only do we have so many choices there are really every stage of preparation it's practically ready for you no matter what you want to do with it there's grill ready vegetables or there's you know salad ready fruit mixes lots of things available and more and more opportunities for buying locally with farmers markets so I would encourage people to check that out and to see what's available and also to really spend some time in the produce section

to see what's current what's seasonal I know at our house we must have apples almost year-round but I really try to push to some of those more seasonal fruits that are at the peak of flavor and obviously nutrition they just are so colorful and not too the same thing that again starts some of our standards but to really widen that that palate that's k-state research and extension nutrition specialist Sandi Proctor more health and nutrition information is available at county and district Extension offices and on the extension website triple wks re KSU edu triple w KS re KSU edu sound living is a weekly public affairs program produced by research and extension at Kansas State University I'm Jeff Wichman and this is the k-state radio network