Do you have a hard time getting vegetables into your diet? Summer is the perfect time to rekindle your love for vegetables and save money in the process by choosing those in season. All vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, and they are great for your body. Here are five delicious veggies that are in season during the summer months.

Cucumber

Cucumbers are in the same family as cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew, and all four share extremely hydrating properties, perfect for combatting the heat of the sun. They have a cooling and soothing effect, which makes it a great addition to your skin care routine, especially sunburns. They are high in vitamin K, which helps the body absorb calcium, strengthening the bones.

They are best eaten raw in salads or sandwiches, adding to water to increase intake, or dipped in hummus for a satisfying snack. Pick cucumbers that are dark green and firm without bruises, and buy organic since they are on the “dirty dozen” list. They are in season from late spring through all summer months.

Carrots

Carrots are high in both vitamin A, 210% of our recommended daily value, and beta-carotene, which are essential for eye health. They are also high in fiber, so they are perfect for regulating blood sugar. The fiber slows glucose absorption, preventing blood sugar highs or crashes. Purple, red, yellow and orange carrots each have their own set of antioxidants, so be sure to try them all.

They are mostly eaten raw, steamed, boiled, or roasted, and they are a common ingredient in many soups. You can enjoy these veggies year round, though their season is late summer and early fall. When buying them, make sure that they are firm and unblemished to ensure a great taste.

Eggplant

Eggplant contains significant amounts of chlorogenic acid, which decreases LDL (cholesterol) levels, and serves as an “antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic agent.” Nasunin, an anthocyanin within the skin of the veggie, is an antioxidant that protects the brain cell membranes from damage, inhibits neuroinflammation, and facilitates blood flow to the brain. It improves memory and may prevent age-related mental disorders.

This veggie is low in calories and high in fiber, filling the stomach with little caloric intake, which is perfect for encouraging healthy weight loss. Make sure the plants you buy are firm and heavy, and avoid any withered, bruised, or discolored plants. Their season is from June through October, and they taste best when fried, baked, sautéed, or roasted.

Okra

Okra is high in vitamin K and C, and manganese, which all reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It is high in fiber, so it reduces the cholesterol levels in the blood, leading to reduced risk of strokes. Okra relieves constipation and promotes regularity, making it the perfect choice for those who struggle with digestive disorders.

Ripe okra is firm and taut to the touch, and okra that has turned dark green at the ends will soon go bad. Okra is delicious fried, baked, steamed, roasted, or even pickled. Cooking the whole pod is beneficial for those who do not like the gummy texture that chopped okra has, and it is in season from June through November.

Green Beans

Green beans are a great source of vitamins A, K, and C, folic acid, iron, and fiber. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, which can increase fertility in women, and consuming the daily amount of folate can ease depression symptoms. Vitamin K helps the body absorb and use calcium efficiently, improving bone health, and fiber promotes bowel regularity.

Green beans are best eaten raw, steamed, roasted, or baked in a casserole, and they are ripe when crisp and bright green. They are in season from June through September, and be sure to store them in the refrigerator to stay fresh.

Spice up your meals this summer with some new vegetables, and you will notice a difference in both your health and palate!

Sources:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283006.php

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2010/06/23/in-season-cucumbers/

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-farmers-market-report-cucumbers-recipes-20170527-story.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270191.php?page=2#nutritional_breakdown_of_carrots

http://www.bestinseason.ie/a-z/carrots/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279359.php

http://www.cuesa.org/eat-seasonally/charts/vegetables

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311977.php

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285753.php