The year, as ever, is racing by! However, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy those foods that we associate with summer and that are in season right now.
From delicious fruits to flavoursome vegetables there is nothing better than eating foods as nature intended and at the time of year they are at their most nutritious.
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her top five foods this July
Their beautiful pink colour just shouts summer! Interestingly, most of the raspberries sold in the UK at this time of year are produced in Scotland, a place we don’t always associate with summer weather!
Raspberries are a very rich source of vitamin C which is essential for the immune system but also for the muscles, skin, and bones too. Collagen, the body’s main structural protein needs vitamin C to do its work properly. It’s a fact, raspberries can help in the fight against the ageing process!
Raspberries are also high in fibre and antioxidants. Enjoy them with just a light dusting of icing sugar, have some with your morning cereal or overnight oats, add to natural yoghurt or make into a raspberry sauce by pushing them through a sieve.
Runner beans always seem to be a staple crop for the keen gardeners amongst us. Despite the initial seed sowing and structure being slightly labour intensive, they seem to be pretty hardy and grow well in our soils. Or maybe they’re so popular down to the beautiful flowers they produce.
Runners are high in vitamin C and energising folate. However, when boiled (which is how most people cook them), much of their nutritional value is lost. So always go for steaming to retain more of their nutrition. When fresh, they are also deliciously crunchy eaten raw in salads.
This needs to be distinguished from river trout which is farmed and not nearly as tasty and nutritionally rich.
Wild sea trout is often referred to as salmon trout, but their flavours are slightly different with sea trout being a little subtler. In terms of nutritional value, wild sea trout are much pinker than farmed versions because they naturally feed on algae that is loaded with astaxanthin. It’s what makes them pink but also is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man.
By eating wild sea trout, you’ll be enjoying all its health benefits. That’s not forgetting that it’s a great source of the amazing and essential omega-3 fats which are needed for the heart, brain, hormones and much more besides. Enjoy sea trout simply plain grilled with lemon butter and Jersey Royal potatoes (also in season).
We often think of turnips as winter root vegetables (which they are). However, they tend to be available pretty much all-year round and have a summer harvest too. Turnips make a great vegetable side and can be used instead of parsnips, perhaps roasted with Parmesan and rosemary.
Turnips are rich in fibre so help keep bowels regular, plus they contain the all-important vitamin C. Even better, turnips are low in fat but provide good energy, together with a bucketful of essential minerals, including calcium for that all-important bone health.
Also known as zucchini to the Americans and Italians, courgettes probably work best when put with some stronger flavours such as feta, tomato and basil or garlic. Courgettes have a high water-content, so can certainly taste rather bland without some flavours to perk it up!
Courgettes are a rich source of beta carotene which is a powerful antioxidant. It’s also turned into immune-boosting vitamin A in the body as needed. They are a good source of the antioxidant lutein which is great for eye health. With the increase in screen usage over the last few years, we are seeing a real demise in our ability to see long distance, and this is especially noticeable in children and the younger generation.
Why not tempt them with some courgette and mint potato cakes or zucchini fries to help them to like courgettes?
Have a fabulously healthy July and enjoy creating dishes with all the seasonal foods on offer.
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