Guest blogger, Alicia Lawrence, is a fellow Alaskan girl who loves writing, attended a Christian college and married a personal trainer. Sooo… basically she fits right in here at Prayers and Apples ;) Check out Alicia’s tips for making the most out of end-of-summer harvests!
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Seasonal produce is one of the best parts of the blistering temperatures that come with the end of summer. This time of year’s bountiful harvest means that delicious fruits and vegetables are both affordable and abundant. The season’s crop also includes many so-called “superfoods,” products that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are vital to keeping your body functioning at peak capacity. If you’re ready to dive into all that the glorious world of end-of-summer fruits and vegetables has to offer, read on to find out more about these seasonal superfoods and how to take full advantage of them.
The granddaddy of all antioxidant-packed super-fruits, these dusky blue berries contain a huge amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants. As an added bonus, they are also proven to help reduce the presence of belly fat, a common complaint among many dieters. You don’t have to be eating a restricted diet to enjoy their bounty, though: the end of summer is the close of their season, so make sure to take advantage of blueberries while they are abundant and affordable.
Mix blueberries with a little cornstarch and a natural sweetener such as honey or agave syrup, then top with a coarse mixture of oats, whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and more sweetener. Bake at 350 F for twenty minutes to enjoy a completely vegan crumble that takes full advantage of the fruit’s healthful properties. To enjoy them in their most natural form, try scattering handfuls over salads or over a bowl of crunchy-creamy granola and yogurt parfait.
Zucchini & Summer Squash
It may seem like cheating to incorporate two veggies in one item, but these closely related squashes are perfect in tandem when it comes to both nutritional content and in cooking. Not only are they extremely affordable, but both contain high levels of nutritional fiber that keep you feeling filled up and energized for the day. They are also rich in vitamins C and K, as well as potassium. Enjoy these two mildly-flavored squashes in Asian stir-fries or stuffed with tomatoes, whole wheat breadcrumbs and a light scattering of Parmesan cheese.
While it is technically a part of the nightshade family, eggplant is anything but hazardous to your health. These bright purple orbs contain over a dozen different types of antioxidants, not to mention high levels of vitamins B6 and K, which promote neurotransmitter function and metabolic regulation, respectively. While perfectly-cooked eggplant is silky and delicious, it tends to absorb a great deal of oil during cooking, which can make the final product greasy. Fight the fat by slicing and salting the eggplants generously about half an hour before cooking, which will draw out moisture and speed up their cooking time. Enjoy in curries, stir-fries, and even as a filling for veggie tacos.
While it’s commonly described as a “vegetable,” you might be surprised to find that these red, juicy summer treats are actually fruits. Whatever their classification, there’s no denying that they’re packed with both flavor and healthy components.
The most notable of these is lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant capable of fighting off cancer-inducing free radicals. Tomatoes are particularly apt at combating pancreatic and breast cancer. Best of all, they are a glorious taste of summer. Combine them with shredded basil leaves, sliced fresh mozzarella, and a splash of balsamic vinegar for a take on the classic Caprese salad, or scatter rounds of them on top of grilled flatbread for a guilt-free treat with all the flavor of pizza but none of the calories.
There’s nothing more refreshing than a cool slice of ripe, sweet melon on a hot summer day. Even better, it’s healthier than you realize. Cantaloupe, along with the aforementioned tomatoes, is a great source of cancer-fighting lycopene, as well as the beta-carotene that promotes eye function. A single serving of cantaloupe contains an entire day’s worth of vitamins A and C, plus massive amounts of potassium. Enjoy cantaloupe chilled from the fridge, or tossed with a little lime juice and mint to enhance its refreshing flavor.
With these super foods in your arsenal, there’s no need to mourn the end of summer!
With the fall coming up, you can also enjoy healthy treats like pumpkin, apples, and squash in just a few short weeks!
More About the Author
Alicia is a content coordinator for a top web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by Her Fitness Hut, Examiner.com, and Ask Miss A. On Twitter? Follow Alicia here! :)
What’s your favorite SuperFoods recipe?
Any fun end-of-summer traditions?
Boston.com. 7 superfoods that are good for your health.
Elkaim, Y. (16 August 2013). Upgrade your health with these 7 superfoods. Yahoo!News.