Photo: Jennifer Causey

Harness the health benefits of summer's bounty with this color-coded installment of our annual Summer Cookbook.

May 09, 2017

Green

Lush and verdant, the peas, herbs, and peppers of summer offer glorious bursts of freshness and boost the nutrition of salads, soups, and drinks.

SUGAR SNAP PEAS
This gorgeous salad offers some key benefits: Sweet sugar snap peas provide lots of vitamin C, while fresh dill is purported to have anti-inflammatory properties.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Snap Pea Salad with Whipped Ricotta

OLIVES AND CUCUMBERS
Full of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, olives are also high in sodium so enjoy them in moderation. Besides being crisp and cool, cukes offer up lots of vitamin C.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Shaved Cucumber Greek Salad

SHISHITOS
Like all peppers, shishitos are an excellent source of vitamin C.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Shishito and Shrimp Skewers with Chimichurri

JALAPENOS
Capsaicin, found in spicy peppers, may promote better vascular health.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Honeydew-Jalapeno Margaritas

ZUCCHINI
Aside from being quite low in calories, zucchini is an excellent source of vitamin C.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Minestrone Verde

 

Red

Bring on the tomatoes, the strawberries, the beets, these crimson beauties make for stunning dishes rich in lycopene, vitamin C, and folate.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

TOMATOES
Tomatoes are high in vitamins C and A and are a good source of potassium—a mineral that plays an important role in helping to mitigate the harmful effects of sodium on blood pressure. Red tomatoes also contain lycopene, an antioxidant linked to a lower risk of certain cancers. For increased absorption, cook the tomatoes.

View Recipe: Lobster Roll Bruschetta

WATERMELON
High in vitamins A and C, summer's sweetest melon is also a good source of the antioxidant lycopene.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Red Snapper with Chunky Tomato-Watermelon Salsa

BELL PEPPERS AND FRESNO CHILES
Sweet red bell peppers are a particularly good source of vitamin C, containing three times as much as an orange. The heat of these chiles slightly boosts metabolism.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Grilled Red Curry Chicken and Bell Peppers

RADICCHIO AND BEETS
Radicchio is a good source of folate and an excellent source of vitamin K, which is necessary for blood to clot. Earthy beets are excellent sources of folate, a B-vitamin that may help prevent certain birth defects and decrease the risk of some cancers.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Rosy Beet-and-Quinoa Salad

STRAWBERRIES
High in vitamin C and one of the top fruit sources of folate.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Rosé-Glazed Strawberry Tart

 

Yellow

Mild summer squash, juicy peaches, crunchy bell peppers, and sweet corn bring benefits galore to the table. It's time to dig in to the golden treats of the summer garden.

VITAMIN C AND GARLIC
Get ready for a vitamin C boost—bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lemons are all good sources. Regular consumption of garlic, especially raw garlic, may help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Yellow Bell Pepper Gazpacho

PEACHES
Summer's juiciest stone fruit is a good source of vitamin C and beta-cryptoxanthin.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Peach-Thyme Galette

CANTALOUPE
The fragrant melon is one of the top food sources of beta-carotene, which supports healthy vision and skin.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Cantaloupe-White Balsamic Sorbet

SQUASH AND LEMONS
Whether you choose crookneck or straightneck squash, they're both an excellent source of vitamin C. Lemons not only adds its classic sunny flavor, this citrus fruit also provides vitamin C.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Yellow Squash Pasta with Caramelized Lemon

CORN
Corn contains beta-cryptoxanthin, a fat-soluable antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of lung cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Corn Cakes with Bacon and Turmeric Yogurt

 

Purple

It's time you got to know anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that's found in the gorgeous indigo pigmentation of certain fresh produce.

PURPLE CAULIFLOWER AND JAPANESE EGGPLANT
All cauliflower is high in vitamin C and vitamin K—important for overall heart health. Purple cauliflower, though, is also rich in anthocyanin. Eggplant, the slim nightshade, is low in calories and high in potassium, folate, and fiber.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Grilled Eggplant and Purple Cauliflower

PURPLE POTATOES
Purple potatoes taste similar to russet (baking potatoes), but they contain four times more antioxidants—namely anthocyanin. And, like all potatoes, they are high in potassium, important for regulating blood pressure.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Smoked Potato Salad

BLACKBERRIES
High in vitamin C and fiber, these berries contain antioxidants that may help prevent cognitive decline.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Blackberry Gin Fizz

BLUEBERRIES
If ever an ingredient deserved to be called a superfood, blueberries are it. They're the highest in antioxidants of any fruit, and those antioxidants may help protect brain function.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Blueberry-Lavender Yogurt Pops

CABBAGE
Red or purple cabbage is high in vitamin C (even more so than oranges) and anthocyanin, the pigment that gives it and other purple foods their color. It's an antioxidant that fights inflammation and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

 Photo: Jennifer Causey

View Recipe: Red Wine-Marinated Steak with Balsamic Onions and Slaw