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  • 5 Foods for Healthy Summer Recipes

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    5 Foods for Healthy Summer Recipes
    How to eat right and still treat your taste buds this season

    By Janet Lee
    July 18, 2016

    Burgers, barbecued ribs, hot dogs, ice cream, potato salad. Those summer classics taste good but aren’t always so healthy because of their high fat and calorie content. But this season brings an abundance of fresh, flavorful fruits and vegetables packed with good-for-you nutrients—and there are many healthy summer recipes that require minimal preparation. Using the five delicious foods below in healthy summer recipes will help you “healthy up” your warm-weather menus.

    1. Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella
    A red tomato’s bright color comes from lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. A review of studies in the journal Medicine found that men who ate 9 to 21 mg of lycopene per day (a medium tomato has almost 4 mg) were less likely to develop prostate cancer. Fresh mozzarella is lower in calories and fat than some other cheeses, and the fat it contains enhances lycopene absorption.

    Try it. Serve sliced tomatoes (either fresh or grilled) topped with cheese and fresh basil, or eat the trio on toasted bread.

    2. Beans and Corn
    This duo is low in fat and high in filling fiber, which can help you manage cholesterol and blood sugar. A new analysis of studies published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who eat beans regularly are more likely to lose weight even if they’re not trying.

    Try it. Toss beans and corn in a little dressing and any fresh herbs you like for this healthy summer recipe. You can add other ingredients, such as avocado, peppers, and tomatoes. Many recipes call for black beans, which have 8 grams of fiber per half-cup.

    3. Gazpacho
    Tomatoes star in this low-fat, high-fiber chilled soup. Other ingredients can include cucumbers, garlic, onions, and fresh herbs. Some recipes even call for watermelon. The soup has lycopene and the amino acid citrulline, which some evidence suggests might improve blood circulation.

    Try it. Blend fresh tomatoes and the other ingredients in a food processor or blender; for creaminess, add avocado. Stir in cooked corn, fish, or shrimp if you like. (Read our special report on pesticides in produce.)

    4. Grilled Fruits and Vegetables
    Grilling and summer go hand in hand, but cooking meat over an open flame can create potentially carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs. But grilling fruits and vegetables doesn’t trigger the same chemical reaction. (Cooking potatoes, on the grill or in the over, to a deep brown, however, can create a compound called acrylamide, which animal studies show can cause cancer.) You can grill almost any produce—even lettuce. It brings out the sweetness in all fruits and vegetables.

    Try it. Nectarines, peaches, and plums are particularly tasty when grilled. And they’re a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth, alone or with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream. Slice them in half, remove the pit, and place on the grill, cut side down. Or make kebabs by threading skewers with vegetables or fruits. (Learn how to treat a burn from grilling and cooking.)

    5. Guacamole
    Avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, and vitamins C and K. A review of 10 studies in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that using avocado instead of other fats appeared to reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides.

    Try it. Instead of tortilla chips, try pairing guacamole with healthier dippers such as vegetables, whole-grain crackers or pita bread, or shrimp. Use it as a side dish or a topping for sandwiches and turkey burgers. You can also add it to eggs, salads, and soups.

    What healthy foods do you eat in the summer?
    Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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