Summer is getting started! With June finally, here it means we see an increase in fruits and vegetables that have our back. June is all about reaping the benefits of all that spring rainfall and the hard work of all those pollinators. All the water from the last season the fruits and vegetables are full of hydration. Not only do we see high water content in our summer foods but also sun protection! Summer fruits and vegetables are chock-full of foods to help replenish our electrolytes and provide us with lightweight energy. Most, if not all of us, are looking for foods that help us beat the heat and boost our energy. What better way to do just that than to fill your plate with powerful fruits and vegetables designed to burn fat and even slow down aging. Just like that, summer has even more of a reason to be our favorite season.
Let’s face it, we all want to look and feel our best. One of the best ways to do just that is by providing our bodies with the building blocks they need. During the month of June, mother nature fills our cupboards with fruits and vegetables that help bring out the best in all of us. Summer fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that support immunity, slow aging, boost metabolic rate, improve skin and hair health, support your heart health, and more! The following is a list of the best fruits in June along with their health benefits.
Whether you’re dealing with indigestion, constipation, flatulence, or want to maintain healthy digestive health, including eggplant in your diet may be the way to go. Eggplants not only soothe many kinds of digestive issues but can also increase the absorption of nutrients from other foods you eat alongside them. It’s also rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber that helps feed your good gut bacteria (probiotics) and boost their population. Eggplants are rich in potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, making them a great addition to the diet to promote bone health. Nasunin is the most abundant type of anthocyanin antioxidant contained in eggplants. It helps fight oxidative stress and inflammation, which is a foundation for most diseases. It also protects against cell mutations, cell death, and DNA and cell membrane damage caused by oxidation.
Eggplants have long been recognized as a powerful heart-healthy food, but many don’t realize that they can even lower cholesterol levels. In fact, one study found that eggplants possess the same ability to lower LDL cholesterol as statin drugs. There are several ways that eggplant can help you lose weight. First, it is high in fiber, and fiber has been shown to aid in healthy digestion and weight loss. Additionally, being low in calories means that eggplant can aid in appetite control while satisfying your hunger cravings between meals. Plus, it also helps fill you up more quickly, so you don’t overeat when it’s time for a meal.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline which is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.
Cauliflower is a potentially rich source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, and vitamin E. It provides vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sodium, and iron without adding any harmful cholesterol. It contains some protein. It can also provide dietary fiber and may contain smaller amounts of natural sugars as compared to the other members of its botanical relatives, such as broccoli.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, alongside kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips. Broccoli is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Antioxidants can help prevent the development of various conditions. The body produces molecules called free radicals during natural processes such as metabolism, and environmental stresses add to these. Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, are toxic in large amounts. They can cause cell damage that can lead to cancer and other conditions. The body can eliminate many of them, but dietary antioxidants can help. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K, but this may interfere with some people’s use of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin). People who use these drugs should not suddenly increase their intake of vitamin K-rich foods such as broccoli.
A single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily recommended minimum of vitamin C. What’s more, tomatoes supply vitamin A, which supports immunity, vision, and skin health, and vitamin K, which is good for your bones. Tomatoes also provide potassium, a key nutrient for heart function, muscle contractions, and maintaining healthy blood pressure and fluid balance. They contain an antioxidant called lycopene (which also gives them their red color). Studies have shown that higher blood levels of lycopene are linked to lower death rates among people with metabolic syndrome. Lycopene is good for your eyes, too. And that’s not the only peeper-protective nutrient in tomatoes; they contain lutein and beta carotene as well. These nutrients support the vision and protect against eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. The fluid and fiber in tomatoes may be helpful if you’re prone to constipation.
Tomatoes may be a protective food for people with type 2 diabetes. In one study, people with diabetes who were supplemented with cooked tomatoes for 30 days experienced a decrease in lipid peroxidation. The combination of tomato paste and olive oil protects against sun damage and boosts the production of pro-collagen, a molecule that gives the skin its structure and keeps it firm. Observational studies have found links between consumption of tomato’s superstar compound, lycopene, and fewer incidences of prostate, ovarian, lung, and stomach cancers.
Onions vary in size, shape, color, and flavor. The most common types are red, yellow, and white onions. The researchers found that the risk of colorectal cancer was 79% lower in those who regularly consumed allium vegetables, such as onions. Experts do not fully understand the exact mechanism by which some compounds in onions inhibit cancer. Some hypothesize that onions inhibit tumor growth and cell mutation. One cup of chopped onions also provides at least 13.11% of an adult’s recommended daily intake of vitamin C. As an antioxidant, this vitamin helps counter the formation of free radical compounds that have links to cancer. As a good source of vitamin C, onions may support the building and maintenance of collagen. A 2019 review found that quercetin, a compound in onion skin, had links to lower blood pressure when the researchers extracted it and administered it as a supplement.
Sausage and Rice Skillet
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 1 1/4 cup brown rice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 12 oz vegan sausage
- 1/2 red bell pepper sliced
- 1 small white onion minced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 5 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp cilantro chopped
In a small pan cook the rice according to the package’s directions. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the oil and sausage. Cook until browned on both sides and remove. Add peppers, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until fragrant for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside with the sausage. To the skillet add the tomato paste and about 3/4 cup of broth. Whisk to combine and allow to simmer for 1 minute prior to adding paprika and cayenne. Stir in cooked rice, sausage, remaining broth, peppers, onions, and cook until combined. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 2
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/2-1 cup marinara sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 yellow onion minced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup oregano chopped
- crushed red pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut eggplant into 1/4-1/3 inch thick. Brush olive oil on each side of the eggplant and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the eggplant is hot and start to cook down. In a skillet add 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, and onions. Cook until soft seasoning with salt and pepper. Add sauce and spinach to the skillet and cook for 1-2 additional minutes. Remove the eggplant slices from the oven, and top each with the onion spinach mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and oregano. Place into the oven for approximately 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve hot with fresh oregano and red pepper.
Cherry Tomato Pasta
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 shallots minced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh oregano
- 6 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp vegan butter
- 1 pound gluten-free pasta of choice
- 1/2 cup fresh basil roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to soften for about 3 minutes. Next, add the garlic, oregano, tomatoes, and chili flakes. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the tomatoes start to stick to the pan. Remove from heat and blend about half of the tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Stir the tomato sauce back into the skillet. Return the heat to medium. Stir in the vodka, cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk. Season and keep warm. Meanwhile, cook the pasta as directed. Add pasta, butter, vegan parmesan, and basil to the sauce. Once the butter has melted top with basil and more cheese.
Summer Coconut Curry
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 2
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 summer squash cubed
- 14 oz can chickpeas drained
- 2 ears of corn kernels were removed from the cob
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1-inch ginger grated
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
- 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 2 cups cooked basmati rice
- sunflower seeds, Persian cucumbers, vegan sour cream to top with
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer add in the chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes allowing it to crisp. Carefully remove half of the chickpeas and reserve them for stopping. To the remaining chickpeas add veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes seasoning as desired. Cook until vegetables start to soften. Stir in curry powder and cayenne cooking for another 1 minute. Add milk, 1/3-1/2 cup water, and the tahini. Stir to combine, bring the curry up to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. If it becomes too thick add in more water. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in juice, zest, and cilantro. To serve pour over cooked rice and top with desired toppings.
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Keeping your body free of toxins and free radicals is necessary to maintain a healthy life and a healthy mind. There are tons of foods you can add to your regular diet to help your body with its critical detoxifying processes. If you are looking for a safe and all-natural way to detox your body at home be sure to check out my Balancing Abundance Program. Because detoxing is so important and realistically everyone should be doing it on at least a seasonal basis I have taken the time to put together a program to help you do just that. Here’s the thing, I know working with me one-on-one can seem difficult to get into (due to limited space) and I wanted to be able to give everyone an additional solution that has no limits. You deserve to be happy, healthy, and successful at everything you do so here are some recipes to help set you up for success!
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