16 Summer Superfoods You Need to Try from 16 Summer Superfoods You Need to Try

16 Summer Superfoods You Need to Try

With colorful vegetables growing in your backyard garden, fresh fruits showing up at your local farmer’s market and local-caught fish as a great healthy meal, there’s no denying that summer affords us some excellent options when it comes to eating right. 

You can’t go wrong with any of the above foods (in moderation, of course), but those looking to get the most benefits should try “superfoods.” These foods are typically low in calories and nutrient-dense; they provide crucial health benefits and you typically don’t need to eat much to enjoy the benefits.

One thing is key in choosing these foods, though; it’s that you should be eating in season. With that tip in mind, be sure to keep an eye out for these summer superfoods, which were chosen by nutritionists, dietitians and other experts on healthy eating.

Watermelon

Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds, which are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. In other words, they are important in the fight against chronic disease. As the name implies, they also have high water content, which is excellent for staying hydrated during the hot summer months. I like that both kids and adults love watermelon as a refreshing snack or dessert, which is certainly a better choice than high calorie, low-nutrient options. My favorite way to eat watermelon: grilled, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and certified natural chef in Boulder, Colo.

Turmeric

My top pick for this summer's all-star superfood is turmeric; it has such amazing anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to being a potent anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant and detoxifying agent. The best thing about turmeric is that it's so versatile and easy to use—not only curries and soups will benefit from its beautiful golden color and distinct yet subtle taste, but also marinades, dressings, even
smoothies. Turmeric is a definite must-have for any health-conscious kitchen.
—Marise May, co-owner of Arayuma, with a background in nutritional science

Coconut Rose Water

Nothing beats cracking open a coconut for its refreshing, fiber-packed, mineral-rich sweet water—nothing, that is, except for this divine coconut rose water. It might sound too feminine, but adding in the delicate, yet distinctive floral element of rose water provides a boost of added antioxidants, tannins, flavonoids and essential A, C, D, E and B3 vitamins.
Sophie Jaffe, a certified raw food nutritionist, celebrity raw food chef and founder of Philosophie

Acai Berries

Pronounced ah-sigh-EE, this fruit has been dubbed a "superfood" because it's filled with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids and fiber to promote cardiovascular and digestive health. Acai berries are most often eaten in smoothies, so pair it with other favorite fruits, throw it in a blender and top it off with granola to make for a nutrition packed meal.
Candice Schreiber, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Sea Vegetables

“Sea vegetables” is a general term for various types of multicellular algae, such as brown, red, and green algae, that exist in brackish water or seawater. Sea vegetables are high in iodine, which is essential for human thyroid function and also contain high concentrations of magnesium and calcium. Much of the medical science research on the benefits of sea vegetables has focused on cancer, particularly breast, lung, and skin cancer. Most people dry them and form it into sheets, which in Japan is called nori and is most often used to wrap sushi.
—Brian Clement is a licensed nutritionist, author and the co-director for the Hippocrates Health Institute

Garlic

Extremely dense in flavonoids and sulphur compounds, the positive medicinal links to garlic keep growing and growing. In addition to the positive effects garlic has on aging, high blood pressure and heart disease, there is also a high concentration of allicin, a phytochemical found in white foods that has antiviral activity, particularly seen in its prevention of colds and flus. As I always say, "a clove of garlic a day keeps the doctor away!"
—Daniel Magoon is a Dallas-based registered dietitian with Snap Kitchen

Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is an incredible option due to its relatively low contaminant level and high content of omega 3 fatty acids—which keeps "bad" fat in check, prevents cardiovascular disease and helps improve brain function.
—Sarah Jacobs, a Holistic Nutritional Counselor & Co-Founder of The Wellness Project NYC

Pitaya Breakfast Bowl

Pitaya (also known as Dragon fruit) is a superfruit packed with tons of antioxidants. The best part about Pitaya Bowls is that they often resemble the texture of ice cream making them absolutely delicious, yet 100 percent good for you.
Sophie Jaffe, a certified raw food nutritionist, celebrity raw food chef and founder of Philosophie

Cherries

Cherries are particularly potent with the phytochemical anthocyanin which is a potent antioxidant and plenty of studies are linking cherry intake to a decrease in arthritis symptoms. These deep dark bursts of flavor can be used through the day, from breakfast to dessert and you can always freeze any extras for smoothies on those particularly hot days.
—Daniel Magoon is a Dallas-based registered dietitian with Snap Kitchen

Pomegranate

Extracting the seeds from the flesh may seem labor intensive, but the work is worth the return. Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, pomegranate should be added to your fruit repertoire. How you might ask? Make a spring spinach and pomegranate salad, throw it in your oatmeal or make a pitcher of refreshing pomegranate infused ice water.
Candice Schreiber, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Lavender Almond Milk

For a stress-and-sick-free summer, try lavender almond milk. You can easily make it at home and the health benefits are incredible. Lavender is a well-known flower touted for its calming effects and is used for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression and tummy troubles.
Sophie Jaffe, a certified raw food nutritionist, celebrity raw food chef and founder of Philosophie

Mango

Not only will it give you tropical vibes, Mango is a great source of Vitamin C to help build up your immune system. Enjoy it plain or throw it in your favorite salsa recipe to be served over chicken or fish.
Candice Schreiber, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Avocado

Summer is this fruit's favorite season. While it is technically a fat in the nutrition books, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Your body needs fat to survive, so might as well fill it with good fat that may improve heart and mental health. Avocados are also extremely versatile in the kitchen; they make an easy substitute for mayonnaise or other creamy additives for soups or sauces and if you have ever tried guacamole, you know part of the reason we say avocados can improve your mental health.
—Daniel Magoon is a Dallas-based registered dietitian with Snap Kitchen

Summer Squash

I like to point out summer squash, because it’s often overshadowed by other foods and it shouldn’t be. It’s highly accessible, easy to grow in your own garden and quite affordable. Summer squash is rich in the antioxidants lutein and xeaxanthin, which are known to help ward off age-related macular degeneration and cataracts—so they are excellent for eye health. To get the most antioxidants, you want to eat the skin and seeds, in addition to the flesh. They also contain a variety of nutrients that help to regulate blood sugar and so may be protective against diabetes. Squash are also a good source of potassium and magnesium, minerals which help regulate blood pressure and, therefore, may reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and certified natural chef in Boulder, Colo.

Goji Berries

Native to the Himalayas, Goji berries are all the rage with their cancer-fighting antioxidants and more iron than a serving of spinach. Add them to a bag of trail mix or garnish your cereal with them to jump on the nutritious band wagon of Goji berries.
Candice Schreiber, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Grapefruit

With a cancer-fighting nutrient called beta-carotene, eating more grapefruit has been linked to lowering the risk of certain cancers. Eat it like an orange to get more fiber or squeeze out the juice and replace your morning OJ with some fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.
Candice Schreiber, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center