11 AUGUST 2014
With summertime comes an abundance of fresh, delicious and healthy superfoods. If you're not making the most of the vitamin and goodness-packed ingredients that are currently in season, here's our top pick of summer's fruits and vegetables that are brimming with secret health benefits...
Strawberries are packed full of health benefits. They have more nutrients than the likes of apples and bananas, and are known to burn stored fat (the anthocyanins stimulate the burning of stored fat), and are good for weight loss - the compound nitrate found promotes blood flow and oxygen in our body.
Tip: They're best eaten at room temperature to bring out the lovely summer flavour. Also, try slicing them onto a fresh leafy salad and add a splash of balsamic vinegar to highlight their taste.
Spring Onions contain allicin, which may keep you from overeating by stimulating satiety in the brain. Spring onion has a milder, sweeter taste than the dried white bulbs you buy later in the season. Enjoy it diced on salad for a fat-fighting side or lunch.
Artichokes may seem intimidating, but one medium artichoke contains 64 calories, 10 grams of fibre and three grams of protein, and is a great source of vitamins C and K and folate.
Tip: Best served steamed with a dash of lemon and sprinkling of fresh, chopped parsley.
Most often associated with Italian cooking, be sure to add fennel to your selection of fresh vegetables in summer when it's readily available and at its best. Just an ounce of the bulb in your salads adds a gram of fibre for only nine calories. Fennel bulb is also a very good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Tip: fennel has a mild aniseed taste and the texture of crisp celery. Try grating the bulb over summer salads for instant aniseed zing. Alternatively cut the bulb into wedges and stir fry with other crisp vegetables for an amazing side dish.
Lettuce has often been dubbed "the perfect weight loss food" because it contains plenty of cellulose and fibre - meaning it fills you up, and improves your digestion - which is important for long term weight control.
Tip: Try a little gem lettuce, cut into quarters, stir fried with a handful of peas and a small onion.
Love it or hate it, broccoli is great for you. It is known as a smart carb and is high in fibre, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn - with half the calories.
Tip: Try it steamed, then served with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Summer is the perfect time to eat radishes, when they grow locally and can be picked at their height of freshness and flavour. Radishes should be a staple item in your kitchen - with a very low calorie count, less than 20 calories in an entire cup, they're a great way to add nutrients, fibre and tons of flavour to your meals without compromising your diet.