Light Summer Food For Health & Weight Loss

Photo Credit: USDA PD
The hot days of summer usually mean lighter eating for many people. The summer heat may dampen your appetite. Heavy foods seem too much for many people as the temperatures soar. Fresh fruits and vegetables are in season and a salad with fresh produce might just hit the spot. Enjoying summer fruits and vegetables can also help you to lose weight while enjoying a more nutritious diet. Fresh vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, fiber, calcium, potassium and other essential trace nutrients that your body needs. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories.
Tomatoes and bell peppers are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. They also contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant nutrient that can help reduce the risk of prostate and digestive tract cancers. Lycopene may also help to reduce LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol in the blood causes plaque to build up in the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and strokes. Bell peppers contain beta carotene, another powerful antioxidant. Beta carotene supports the immune system and prevents cell damage caused by free radicals.
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are naturally sweet and contain important nutrients, including vitamin C. They also contain ellagic acid, which is an antioxidant that helps to rid the cells of toxins and may prevent the growth of some types of cancer cells. Berries are a good source of natural sugars and fiber. Try some fresh berries in a cool smoothie blended with low-fat milk or sprinkle a handful of raspberries or blueberries on some low-fat yogurt for a cool, refreshing dessert.
Beans and peas are loaded with protein and nutrients, which makes them an excellent alternative to animal protein. There are many varieties of beans, all loaded with fiber, iron and protein. Beans can be eaten in salads, steamed, grilled, boiled or cooked in stews or in soups. Beans are high in fiber so they help you feel fuller, longer. They also help to control LDL cholesterol. Beans and peas are low in calories, too. 

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