To continue my list of healthy summer BBQ to enjoy this year, here are four more to indulge in this season.
Beans: Beans are backyard barbecue favorite. They’re also great sources of folate, fiber, protein and a good source of iron, in addition to being very low in fat. The health benefits of beans include lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar and controlling diabetes, reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, preventing constipation and fostering weight control, as do all legumes. Go meatless without missing the protein by adding beans to your menu.
Berries: Berries pack a real nutritional punch! Considering their size, berries contain a whopping percentage of phytochemicals, in addition to vitamins A, C and E, folate, potassium and fiber, all of which provide numerous health benefits. Serve them in salads, smoothies, desserts, and on their own for a delicious summer treat.
Cherries: Fresh fruits and veggies are always a good ideas but delicious, summer cherries it would seem, are especially good at promoting heart health. Recent studies indicate that a cherry-enriched diet helps lower body fat (due to their anti-inflammatory properties, especially the important “belly” fat), inflammation and cholesterol – all risk factors associated with heart disease. The reason seems to be the beta carotene (cherries have 19 times more than blueberries or strawberries) vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate found in Cherries. Enjoy them fresh or even dried in salads, muffins or pancakes.
Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens are at their peak during the summer months, and in addition to having what is perhaps the most concentrated nutrition of any food, they also make versatile side dishes for barbecue season. Greens are nutritional superstars and are loaded with more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than I have room to list here. Some of the highlights are iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. Try your greens fresh (minimal cooking is best) or pan-wilted.