Fresh, summer produce makes healthy eating a snap

We’ve waited long enough for these summertime delights!

blueberries blogMichigan farmers markets and roadside stands are open, offering fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables. Right now is the best time to get the following healthy, locally grown summer produce:

  • Basil comes a variety of flavors, including Sweet Genovese, cinnamon, lemon, opal and Thai basil. A small portion of basil (2 chopped tablespoons) has trace amounts of many minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, potassium, folate and Vitamins A and K.
  • Blackberries and blueberries are in season July through August. Enjoy these sweet, ripe, juicy local berries — one of the great treats of summer. Added benefit: They’re naturally low in calories and high in nutrients.
  • Butter lettuce Soft and tender, butter lettuce (also called Boston or Bibb) contains plenty of Vitamin K – along with C and A. Vitamin K in particular promotes good bone health. Lettuce, in general, is also full of folates, a water-soluble version of Vitamin B that helps boost the body’s ability to produce cells.
  • Fresh, sweet corn is in season mid June through August. Besides being a delicious addition to any meal, it is also rich in phytochemicals. According to researchers, corn oil has been shown to have an anti-atherogenic effect on cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
  • Sweet cherries are in season from late spring through early summer. They’re high in fiber and potassium and low in calories: one cup of cherries is about 100 calories. Cherries are full of anthocyanins, a type of phytochemical believed to be high in antioxidant activity.
  • Fresh peas such as sugar snap peas, snow peas and green peas are at their peak from April through July. As part of the legume family, peas are low in fat and high in fiber and are a good source of plant protein.
  • Flavorful and low in calories, radishes offer a distinctive flavor and are a good source of vitamin C. Choose radishes that are deep in color with solid roots for the best flavor.
  • Apricots pack beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and fiber and are a low-calorie choice to satisfy your sweet tooth. Apricots are in peak season from May to August. Grilling apricots brings out their sweetness.
  • Technically a vegetable, rhubarb is often used as a fruit in pies and jams. In season from April through July, rhubarb stalks area good source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese.

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Recipe: Easy Roasted Vegetables

Take your pick of healthy summertime ingredients

Choose from a wide variety of garden ingredients to make this recipe unique and delicious!

Choose from a wide variety of garden ingredients to make this recipe unique and delicious!

A heart-healthy diet begins with fresh ingredients. And, with summer in full swing, fresh, homegrown ingredients for this recipe for Easy Roasted Vegetables are easy to come by — whether from your own garden or a community farmer’s market. They’re also easy to prepare for a healthy, colorful summertime dish.

Pick one vegetable or a combination of several from the list below. Then, follow these easy steps:

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Recipe: Green beans with roasted tomatoes and basil

Fresh, homegrown vegetables make the difference

Fresh ingredients, whether from a farmers market or your garden, make this side dish special.

Fresh ingredients, whether from a farmers market or your garden, make this side dish special.

A heart-healthy diet begins with fresh ingredients. And, with summer in full swing, fresh, homegrown ingredients are easy to come by — whether from your own garden or a community farmer’s market. They’re also easy to prepare for a healthy, colorful summertime dish.

Green Beans with Roasted Tomatoes & Basil

  •  6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 ½ lb. green beans (or half green and half yellow)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic tops, finely chopped or 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

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Anti-cancer diet made simple

NAP-06 Special.inddThere has been an explosion of research in the area of nutrition for cancer prevention and prevention of cancer recurrence since 2005. From these studies a great deal of information has been gleaned about how to approach an anti-cancer diet. Most of the findings show that a diet that focuses on plant-based foods reduces the risk of cancer and recurrence.

What are plant-based foods?

Plant-based foods include:

Recipe: Mediterranean bean salad

Pack the perfect picnic with this heart-healthy side dish

dried-beans

Beans provide a range of nutrients and antioxidants, making Mediterranean Bean Salad a delicious way to improve heart health and lower your risk of colorectal cancer.

Make your Fourth of July celebration all about the side dishes with this recipe for a punchy bean salad. A variety of beans provide folate, iron, potassium, selenium and a range of antioxidants. Not just good for your heart, all legumes are rich in dietary fiber, which can help lower your risk for colorectal cancer. Flavorful herbs and a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and lemon make this a healthy addition to any picnic.

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Taming the flame: Grill safe this summer

flamegrillWe know eating healthy is important in fighting cancer. So how can you enjoy that summer cookout with friends and families without tossing healthy eating aside? Here are some tips on how to grill safe this summer.

Each year, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians field questions from patients about whether it’s safe to grill, given the evidence that grilled meats may contain cancer-causing agents. Guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) suggest that the type of food you grill may be more important than how you prepare it. Continue reading