Everything is brighter in the summertime: the flowers, the sun, the fashion, and most importantly—the food.
A vibrant peak-of-season meal not only looks better on your plate, but actually improves your health overall. There are strong ties between naturally occurring plant pigments and good health, so making healthy meals that are as bright as a painter’s palette is an easy place to start if you want to lose weight, prevent illness or just feel better:
- Red: Juicy tomatoes, crisp radishes and sweet watermelons are all summertime staples. Their vibrant red hues are caused by lycopene, a cancer preventing pigment your body loves. Try tossing together an Italian Chopped Salad or topping bruschetta with tomatoes, basil and salty aged cheese for a splash of flavor and color.
- Orange and Yellow: Carrots, yellow squash and apricots are showing off their bright skins this season and offering a cartload of beta-carotene to boot. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamins and promotes good eyesight and over-all health. For a super orangey carotene packed dish, try our Mediterranean Carrot Salad.
- Green: Everyone knows you better eat your greens for a healthy lifestyle. And that means scooping up summer favorites like spinach, bell peppers, lettuce, peas and broccoli. According to the American Diabetes Association, eating these veggies will cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 14 percent. To get green, try Green Beans with Parmigiano Reggiano as a super delish side.
- Blue and Purple: Beautiful berries and grapes are instant snacks and picture-perfect garnishes and ingredients for summertime dishes. Their key pigment, Anthocyanin, prevents strokes and even certain types of cancer. Try a Blueberry Farro Salad to incorporate more into your meals.
—By Emily Arno