Summertime Treats for Better Health

<" alt="cherries" />Summertime means sunshine, picnics, and an abundance of seasonal foods like the ones we feature below.

You might commonly associate the word treat with candy, ice cream, or pastries. While those are treats, they’re not the only kind of treats out there. The dictionary definition of the word treat means “something that gives great pleasure.” A strawberry pie may taste good, but fresh and juicy strawberries taste good AND are healthy…two treats in one!

Here are some of our favorite healthy summertime treats to enjoy this summer:

Corn

Fresh and sweet corn is a staple summer treat. Corn also has way of providing you protection from the sun. Thanks to two antioxidants in corn—lutein and zeaxanthin—eating corn assists in the formation of macular pigment filters. Additionally, corn helps combat age-related macular degeneration: the leading symptom responsible for blindness in people over the age of 60.

Tart Cherries

Drinking cherry juice is a common way to get better sleep and combat workout fatigue. But juice isn’t the only way to get the benefits of cherries: you get a full spectrum of health benefits from eating them whole. (Minus the pits, of course.)

Researchers found tart cherries provide weight management benefits. The test subjects in the study that ate cherry powder did not gain as much weight or belly fat as those who did not. Additionally, cherry eaters had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Tomatoes

Fighting the burning sun requires sunscreen. Layering on a protective lotion or oil keeps you safe from UV rays. The next time you consider what sunscreen to put on, consider what you can put in your body to protect yourself, too! Nature provides a wide assortment of natural sun blocking foods, one of them being the tomato.

Eating tomatoes obviously should not replace wearing sunscreen to protect your skin, but consuming them does provide a much-needed extra boost of natural protection, thanks to their high lycopene content.

Iced Tea

When the sun is beaming, there’s nothing better than an ice-cold drink. Instead of reaching for a sugary juice, satisfy your thirst with some iced tea instead. It provides the same treat-like satisfaction and has way more benefits than processed drinks.

Tea contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which lower the risk of Alzheimers and diabetes, and provide healthier teeth, gums, and bones.

It doesn’t matter what variety you choose to drink—black, oolong, green, or herbal—because all tea contains flavonoids. To preserve the flavonoids in the tea, squeeze a lemon inside the pitcher before storing it in your fridge. The citric acid and vitamin C in the lemon (or lime or orange, if you prefer) will work its magic on its own.

Watermelon

There’s no doubt the best thing you can do during summer is drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated keeps your body from overheating. Thanks to watermelon, you get both the benefit of hydration (because watermelon is 92 percent water) and skin-protection (thanks to lycopene).

Additionally, eating foods full of water, like watermelon or kale, keeps you satisfied on fewer calories. Out of all of the treats shared here, watermelon is our favorite and most nutritious choice.

Do you have a favorite treat to eat in the summertime? Please let us know and share it in a comment below!

Photo Credit: motumboe

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