There’s a good chance we’ll be indulging in some of our favorite unhealthy foods this summer, from ice cream and sugary snow cones to hamburgers and hot dogs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work some of the good stuff into our diets, too. These four delicious foods are easy to come by come summer, and they also have the added punch of amazing skin benefits. What could be better?
The antioxidant lycopene is a nutritional powerhouse, and tomatoes are full of it. Processing the fruit better concentrates lycopene, which is why processed tomato products like juice, soup and ketchup are the best, most easily digested sources. One study showed that a daily intake of tomato paste for three months decreased sun damage caused by UV radiation by 30 percent—which makes sense, because lycopene’s action in fruits and vegetables is to protect against light damage.
This summer barbecue favorite is rich in antioxidant phytonutrients, as well as vitamins B and C, folate, betacarotene, protein, and fiber. Because it’s actually a grain, not a vegetable, corn is packed with carbohydrates, so keep portions sizes small. You don’t need much to feel full—the insoluble fiber is satiating and keeps you feeling fuller longer.(Look for CSA or organic)
Watermelon is great for skin thanks to its high content of, well, water. Like tomatoes, it’s also rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that combats the free radicals that are to blame for sunburns and wrinkles. That’s right—consuming watermelon provides natural UV protection from the inside out. Don’t skip the sunscreen, but do fill up on watermelon this (and every) summer.
Fresh seasonal cherries are chock full of health benefits, thanks to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory composition. Their alkaline makeup helps to maintain the body’s ideal pH balance, and their anthocyanin content feeds directly on free radicals to protect DNA against damage from oxidation. Add tart cherries to Greek yogurt for a healthy snack, or try mixing a small amount of pure cherry juice into a glass of ice water (or a cocktail) for a refreshing twist.