With so much day light available in the summer, it would be a shame to waste it slaving away in the kitchen, not to mention the uncomfortable heat you have to put up with while you’d rather be on the balcony or in the garden having an ice cold drink. It’s a good thing that you need very little heat and preparation to get the essential summer nutrition you need in this hot weather.
What nutrients do you need?
Sweating causes loss of essential minerals, namely Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium and Potassium. This is why we are more prone to muscle cramps in the summer. Sweating also causes your cells to become dehydrated. This can affect the absorption of water soluble vitamins such as the B and C vitamins which are essential for the nervous system, energy levels and immunity. Antioxidants are also essential for repair of the cells, and act as your own natural sun protection. This doesn’t mean you can sunbathe unprotected, but they do play an essential role in cell repair and have been shown to form a protective shield when the skin is exposed to UV sun rays. Some antioxidants such as Beta Carotene/Vitamin A and Vitamin E are oil soluble and it essential to eat these with good fats such as omega 3’s and 6s. These good fats are also essential for your skin, brain and even your circulatory system.
Where do I find these nutrients in food?
You may have heard about “eating in season”. This is the best time of year to do it. Most of the essential nutrients you need are in fresh produce that is ripe and ready during the summer months. A great website to bookmark is http://www.eattheseasons.co.uk/. It has a list of all foods in season in the UK.
Almonds: Vitamin E, Manganese, Biotin, Copper, Magnesium, Molydenum, Vitamin B2, and Phosphorus.
Asparagus: Folate, Vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium. It is also a source of inulin which is beneficial to your good bacteria.
Avocado: Vitamin K, Copper, folate, vitamin B5 and B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. An excellent source of Omega 3 and 6.
Blueberries: These little guys are very underrated! Aside from the Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese, these berries are an essential source of antioxidants including resveratrol and anthocyanins. In summer these antioxidants are excellent for your circulatory system health and can help reduce “heavy legs” caused by poor circulation in the heat.
Courgette: vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Folate, Potassium, Copper, Phosphorus and Zinc. Amazingly also omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
Cucumber: Very high water content. Vitamin A, Vitamin B5, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium.
Kale: B-vitamins Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Kale also contains quercetin and alpha-lipoic acid
Lemon: Vitamin C, B-vitamins, Vitamin A, vitamin E, Folate, Copper, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and Phosphorus
Mint: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Copper, iron, potassium, and calcium. Mint is also a great digestive aid and very cooling during summer.
Omega Oils: Essential for transportation of fat soluble vitamins as well as skin, joint and cardiovascular health.
Onions: High in Biotin, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Copper, Vitamin C, Phosphorus, Potassium, Folate, and Vitamin B1. Onions are also a source of antioxidants such as Quercetin, Polyphenols, Flavonoids and Sulphur.
Parsley: Vitamin E, B-vitamins, Phosphorus and Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Peppers: B-vitamins, Folate, Magnesium, Copper, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.
Quinoa: Magnesium, B-vitamins, Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants including Quercetin.
Sesame Seeds: Copper, Manganese, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Molybdenum, Vitamin B1, Selenium and lignans
Tomato: It is also a good source of Vitamin E, B-vitamins, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese. Cooked tomatoes are also a fantastic source of lycopene.
We went in search of some delicious and fast recipes with all the right nutrients
- Monday: Multigrain Tabbouleh with Grilled Tomato
- Tuesday: Asparagus & courgette salad with feta & sesame seeds
- Wednesday: Green Gazpacho
- Thursday: Summer Kale Salad
- Friday: Vegetable and Black Bean Fajitas