Fresh & Healthy Eating

  • Written by Guest Column By Dr. Allison Apfelbaum
I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July, the summer is flying right on by.  This warm weather makes me think of wonderful, healthy meals using fresh ingredients so I’m focusing on that for this column. 
Many people love grilling during the summertime.  It is a fast and tasty way to cook food outdoors.  The trick is to not overcook or char/burn the food because it can lead to too much oxidation. Oxidation leads to free radicals which run around the body and damage cells from the inside, it can also lead to premature aging.  I love to make grilled kabobs with vegetables and one kind of fruit.  For example alternate bell pepper, onion and sliced peach or pineapple on kabobs, add seasoning or Italian dressing for a marinade and grill until tender.  A salad skewer is another option made by alternating pieces of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves, then drizzle with balsamic and serve. 
Fruit is always a summer staple and it is full of Vitamin C that is good for you for so many reasons.  Vitamin C helps your body build collagen for strong hair, skin, nails, and joints.  It also supports the immune system to prevent cold and flu. Naturally vitamin C is anti-histamine that can defend against allergies throughout the year.  Ideally keep your servings to 1-2 daily to avoid too much natural sugar (fructose). Fructose is not easy for your body to process, and it can spike your sugar higher than regular cane sugar.  Try to stay away from drinking straight juice and limit the amount of added fruit sugar you are consuming from things like yogurt, cereal, smoothies, etc.  Fruit skewers with strawberries, blueberries, and angel food cake pieces are a great summer dessert.
Fresh herbs in the summer can add just the right amount of extra flavor to any dish.  Dried herbs have just as many health benefits but do not have that same fresh flavor. My go to garden keeps growing when cut back and includes basil, mint, thyme, tarragon, and rosemary.  Many herbs have strong health benefits and support the immune system.  I suggest doing a little research on your favorite herbs to see what benefits they may offer.  One way to cool off and use fresh herbs is to make infused water.  Fill a pitcher with ice and add a combination of either mint and strawberries, or basil and watermelon, or sliced oranges/lemons/lime with rosemary.  Add water and let sit for 5 minutes, then it is ready to serve.  When grilling add lemon and tarragon to fresh white fish or rosemary and balsamic vinegar to chicken and you’ll enjoy a burst of flavor.
Please be sure to visit the local farmer’s markets for the freshest local ingredients and stay healthy!
Dr. Allison Apfelbaum is a primary care Naturopathic Doctor at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine clinic in Woodinville, WA.

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