Top 10 local summer superfoods

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
August 20, 2018, 2:13:19 PM EDT

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Everyone talks about exotic superfoods but let’s face it: most carry a heavy carbon footprint as they often travel great distances to get to our grocery stores.

Fortunately, there are lots of great local superfoods at our farmer’s markets these days.

While there are many great health-promoting foods from which to choose, here are some of my preferred options due to their availability in most places and their excellent nutritional value.

Blackberries

Often overlooked, these stunningly beautiful black-colored berries are packed with antioxidants, cancer-preventing and heart-healing anthocyanins, making them a great choice to give your health a serious booth. Research by the USDA even shows that blackberries prevent long-term memory loss.

Carrots

Just because carrots are in widespread use and cannot claim “exotic” status doesn’t mean they are any less beneficial to our health. These old standbys are not only rich sources of beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A in the body, they also contain biotin and vitamin K, which help to ensure healthy skin and bones. In one study, participants who ate at least one serving of yellow-orange vegetables like carrots had healthier bone mass than those who ate less.

Cucumbers

It may be easy to assume that cucumbers are basically just water, but in reality these veggies are rich in minerals that are needed for great health. Cucumbers are good sources of silicon—a critical mineral for healthy, bones, teeth, nails, skin and hair. Because the bulk of the nutrients are found in the skin and seeds, it is best to buy organic cucumbers so you can eat the skin and seeds and not just the fleshy part.

Garlic

Because this food/herb is grown in so many places, it is easy to forget just how many amazing medicinal properties it has. Not only is garlic’s constituent, allicin, a potent cold and flu fighter, it is also a potent natural broad-spectrum antibiotic. As if that wasn’t enough reason to love garlic and allicin, the compound has been found to inhibit esophageal, stomach and prostate cancer tumors and cause gastric cancer cell death. Fresh garlic is always best but leave it to sit exposed to the air for about 10 minutes before adding to your favorite foods to increase the health benefits found in garlic.

Grapes

While wine gets all the attention, grapes are the real superfoods. According to a study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the compound resveratrol found in purple and red grapes demonstrated the ability to halt colon cancer stem cells, suggesting a possible prevention and treatment strategy for the disease. Cancer stem cells are believed to manufacture new cancer cells and tumors so getting them under control may hold the key to overcoming the dreaded disease. While red wine may offer some of the health benefits of grapes, the alcohol offsets the therapeutic effects.


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