VIBRANT VEGGIES: Five of our Favorite Summer Vegetables (plus recipes!)

We always encourage our patients to eat healthy, delicious, nutritious food -- to borrow the words of Hippocrates, Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.

Summer provides a lot of flavorful options!  Here are some of our favorite finds at Bay Area farmers markets this summer, and some creative ways you can use them.

TOMATOES: Tomatoes are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, magnesium and Vitamin B6. They also contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to prevent cancer and increase eye, brain, heart and nerve health.  Of course, raw sliced tomatoes are delicious, but cooked tomatoes have an even higher dose of lycopene!

SUMMER SQUASH: This sunny yellow vegetable packs a high dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and fiber.  It’s a versatile vegetable that can be served raw, sauteed, grilled or baked. One cup of summer squash has only 18 calories, so you can eat it to your heart’s content.

POTATOES: Did you know that potatoes grow best in the summertime?  A medium potato provides a lot of fiber (especially if you eat it with the skin on), as well as potassium, Vitamin B6 and 4 grams of protein.  And while citrus fruit is known for its high Vitamin C content, a potato actually has almost as much Vitamin C as an orange! 

OKRA: The French word for okra is “gombo,” which is how the classic Cajun dish with stewed okra, tomatoes, onions, peppers, shrimp and sausage got its name.  Okra can be sauteed, stewed, fried, grilled or baked.  In addition to being delicious, okra is also nutritious, with a healthy dose of Vitamin K, folate, manganese and fiber.

BELL PEPPERS: Bell peppers are one of the most vibrant vegetables of the season.  As if the green, red, yellow and orange varieties we find at the market weren’t enough color variety, did you know that bell peppers can also be white, purple, brown or black?  Peppers contain high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin A.  They also contain a nutrient called Zeaxanthan, which improves eye health by enriching the macula (the center of the retina).  Unlike tomatoes, bell peppers are more nutritious when they’re uncooked.

Here are links to our favorite recipes that combine these nutritious vegetables. 

OKRA AND POTATO HASH: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/okra-potato-hash

SUMMER PEPPER SALAD: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/69451/summer-pepper-salad/

VERY VEGGIE GAZPACHO: https://www.fromachefskitchen.com/very-veggie-gazpacho/

WARM POTATO - TOMATO SALAD: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/warm-potato-tomato-salad-with-dijon-vinaigrette-recipe-2012385

PENNE WITH SWEET SUMMER VEGETABLES: https://food52.com/recipes/18440-penne-with-sweet-summer-vegetables-pine-nuts-and-herbs

We’d love to hear from you!  What vegetables do you and your family enjoy?  What are your go-to summer recipes?

Author
Sarah Thebarge MMSc, PA-C Sarah Thebarge earned her physician assistant degree at Yale School of Medicine, and then studied journalism at Columbia School of Journalism. She has been a physician assistant and a freelance journalist since 2004. In addition to caring for patients at Golden Gate Urgent Care, Sarah frequently volunteers her medical skills in the developing world. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, USA Today and National Geographic, and her blog was featured on MSNBC.com. She is the author of the memoir The Invisible Girls and the upcoming book WELL: Healing our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa. She currently lives in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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