Updated: Jul 4
Eating foods in season is a great way to improve your health while also enjoying your food more. When fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten while they’re in season in your local area, they’re fresher and more likely to have been given time to ripen, rather than being picked green, stored, and shipped over long distances. This means that they not only taste better, but are also far more nutritious.
If you’re looking to eat in season, summer is one of the best seasons to start doing so! There are so many delicious foods that are abundant in summer. Here are five great summer foods to improve your gut health and your skin health too.
Spring and summer are avocado season. Avocados are fantastic for skin health, because they contain a lot of healthy fats. Monounsaturated fatty acids, found at very high levels in avocados, have been found to help maintain the skin’s barrier function. This is the outer waxy coating on the skin, which helps it to keep out irritants from the environment. Those irritants can trigger flare-ups of many chronic skin conditions, and maintaining the skin barrier helps to prevent this from happening.
Ripe tomatoes are delicious, and summer is the best time to find them. Tomatoes contain a lot of lycopene, which is a compound in a group called carotenoids. These are a type of antioxidants, and research shows that they help to protect your skin from damage to the sun. This certainly doesn’t mean that you can stop wearing sunscreen if you’re eating enough tomatoes! But getting more lycopene in your diet might help to shore up your skin’s natural defenses against sun damage.
Tomatoes are in a group of vegetables known as nightshades.
Ripe berries are one of summer’s most delicious – and nutritious – treats. Berries contain a very high content of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help to tame inflammation. Strawberries in particular are high in quercetin, a flavonoid that has been shown to reduce skin inflammation in people with conditions like eczema.
4. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are high in vitamin C. This vitamin is extremely important for skin health. It’s important for the synthesis of collagen, the main structural protein of the skin. It’s also a strong antioxidant. If you don’t get enough vitamin C, then your skin health is likely to suffer. Your body doesn’t store extra vitamin C, so you need to make sure that you’re getting enough every day. A single bell pepper contains more than enough vitamin C to meet your daily requirement – in fact, they’re one of the richest sources of this vitamin. As a bonus, you’ll also get the benefits of all of those beautiful colors. For example, red bell peppers contain a lot of lycopene.
5. Dark cherries
Cherries contain a lot of polyphenols, a group of plant compounds that are known to benefit skin health and have anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols are also prebiotics, meaning that they help to feed your gut bacteria. This helps to keep your gut microbiome healthy, which in turn has huge benefits for your skin. Beyond that, cherries also contain a lot of other antioxidants, like anthocyanins. The darker red the cherries are, the more of these compounds they contain, so choose the darkest ones you can find.
Enjoy the abundance of summer!
Although these five summer foods are particularly nutritious and great for your skin, that doesn’t mean that other foods aren’t! Pretty much any fruit or vegetable is likely to help improve your skin health – the fiber helps to keep your gut bacteria healthy, and these foods contain a lot of vitamins and other beneficial compounds. Unless you have an allergy or a sensitivity to a specific plant food, it’s very likely that it will help to support your skin as well as your overall health. In fact, the more variety of different plant foods you eat, the better.
Keep in mind that some people have sensitivities to particular foods or groups of foods. For example, some people with psoriasis are sensitive to nightshades, a group that includes tomatoes and bell peppers. Even though a food might be healthy for skin in general, it might not be healthy specifically for you. Keeping a food diary can help you to uncover the links between your dietary choices and your skin flare-ups.
If you’d like to learn more, or get advice for creating a personalized food plan that best supports your skin health, get on the waitlist for the brand new version of my signature Mind Gut Skin Academy program. Nutrition is something that we really focus on in this program, because it has so many potential benefits for skin health.
Give yourself the pleasure of eating ripe, delicious summer produce, and enjoy the benefits this brings to your health!