6 Beautifying Summer Foods

Want to add a little variety to your diet this summer? The warm weather months provide many locally harvested and garden-fresh foods, making right now the perfect time to explore new beautifying eats.Don’t be shy to add these six nutritionally seductive and in-season foods to your grocery cart this summer.MORE: Healthy Versions of Your Favorite Summer Foods1. Collard greensLet’s start off with the foods found in the produce section of the grocery store. You will find collard greens—a dark green vegetable with a more than impressive nutrient composition. Collard greens are rich in many nutrients including vitamins C, E and beta carotene, just to name a few. The vitamins and minerals found in collard greens work to reduce oxidative stress in the body and prevent cell damage, reducing our risk of chronic disease. Try steaming collard greens and adding them to a summer dish for extra color, flavor and antioxidants.2. CucumbersAnother beneficial green vegetable—cucumbers—have numerous health and beauty benefits and are in season from July to September. They contain nutrients that replenish and hydrate our skin, making them an ideal summer selection. Cucumbers contain a compound called silica, which is known to improve the complexion. Get healthier looking skin this summer by preparing a cucumber soup or salad.3. Canned salmonWhile traveling through the middle aisles of the grocery store, keep your eyes peeled for canned salmon. It’s a great option in terms of the fantastic health benefits and reduced cost. Canned salmon is made of wild pacific salmon, which contains lower levels of contaminants. Research has also shown that the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon may improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. Want to enhance your mood and improve your attitude this summer? Try molding the canned salmon into burgers and throwing them on the grill.MORE: 5 Steps for Healthier Barbecuing4. SalsaWhile shopping in the non-perishable section of the grocery store, you’ll find our fourth summer food: salsa. Incorporating salsa, particularly corn salsa, into your diet may increase energy levels while also protecting against sun damage. The tomatoes found in salsa contain beta carotene, an important vitamin that helps protect against sun damage. Although eating salsa is not a replacement for sunscreen, adding it to your diet may help combat damage caused by the sun. Selecting corn salsa may also be beneficial because corn is rich in vitamin B, an important nutrient for energy production. Add a splash of salsa onto your eggs in the morning or eat it with corn chips for a fabulous afternoon snack.5. Watermelon PopsiclesInstead of spending money purchasing popsicles at the grocery store, consider making your own. Homemade popsicles can be more cost effective, in addition to being more nutritious. Watermelon is composed of more than 90 percent water, making it a good source of hydration in the summer heat. This sweet fruit is also the highest source of lycopene, a nutrient that protects cells from damage. Enjoy the tastiness of watermelon popsicles while re-hydrating under the hot summer sun.MORE: Summer Snacks for Stronger Bones6. Berry SangriaEveryone will take pleasure in adding this last item to the grocery cart. Sangrias are the perfect beverage to sip on while lounging at the pool or grilling outside. A berry sangria is a great summer cocktail because of the extensive health benefits found in berries. A 2012 study showed that regular berry consumption can slow cognitive decline. In fact, the research found that regularly eating berries was associated with a two-and-a-half-year reduction in cognitive decline. Add some berries to any drink or dish for improved brainpower this summer.MORE: 8 Low-Cal Summer CocktailsThese six summer foods will add a splash of color to your plate during these sunny months while benefiting your body from head to toe. The key to eating nutritiously is to purchase whole foods that are fresh and in season. Doing so will provide your taste buds with the best flavor and your body with the most nutrients. Brigid Titgemeier contributed to this article.