Healthy Summer Eating

Improve your health and beat the heat with some tips on nutrition from HBCAC.

  • Leafy greens and all cruciferous vegetables are highly nourishing to the body and are high in fiber, which is needed for the elimination of toxins.

  • Help heal weathered skin (like the drying effects of the sun) with foods rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Berries are especially antioxidant-rich.

  • Try to get foods with naturally bright colors on your plate at each meal. Color, such as what makes a blueberry blue, indicates different phytochemicals, which have disease-preventing properties.

  • While it is very healthy to eat veggies raw, you can also grill up some zucchini, mushrooms, or onions (to name just a few). Add touch of salt and pepper. They are easy to prepare and delicious!

  • Sit down for meals whenever possible rather than eating on the go. This is good for our mental and physical health. It will help us digest our food better too!

  • Chewing your food thoroughly allows you to absorb more nutrients from your food. Also, the chewing process serves as the first step to proper digestion.

Non-GMO and Organic

Eating organic and/or non-GMO whole foods is a great step you can take toward health and wellness.

  • GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. The genes of plants can be altered by the insertion of a modified gene or a gene from another organism using techniques of genetic engineering.

  • Farmers have widely adopted GM technology, but limited research has been done to assure there are no health risks.

  • Organic produce is grown without harmful pesticides and the soil is more mineral-rich.

  • Organic produce beats conventional produce nutrition-wise with more phenolics, antioxidants, quercetin (a plant flavonol), vitamin C, and vitamin E. (1)

  • To find out which types of conventionally grown produce contain the most and the least chemical pesticides, use the EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists to make informed choices.

Community Supported Agriculture

Joining a “CSA” is great way to get nutritious food directly from a local farmer.  When you become a member of a CSA, you are purchasing a “share” of vegetables. There are a number of CSAs on Long Island. The rations for farm shares usually feed at least a family of four. You normally do not have control of exactly what you are going to get each week, so another nice option is look up local farmers’ markets in your area. This way you can support local farms, but buy only what you know you need and want.

Plant a vegetable garden at home or apply for a community garden plot

Gardening is grounding, and being mentally grounded can help relieve physical and mental stress.

If you have the space to have a home garden, here is a great link to get started: https://home.howstuffworks.com/starting-a-vegetable-garden.htm

If you prefer, or do not have the space, the Town of Huntington is home to an amazing Community Garden. Gateway Community Garden is managed by an independent not-for-profit governed by the gardeners themselves under license agreement with the Town. To apply for a plot, visit http://www.GatewayGarden.org.

Each person’s journey towards health and wellness is unique. Remember that making small improvements and persevering over time will make a huge difference.

By: Tara Marie Kotliar

References:

(1) New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-Based Organic Foods, https://www.organic-center.org/publications/new-evidence-confirms-the-nutritional-superiority-of-plant-based-organic-foods