It’s summertime! Enjoy the season by trying to spend more time outside and indulging in some classic summer flavors. Fueling your body with nutritious foods is key for a healthy recovery from treatment. Whether you’re in or out of treatment, the summer season offers a bounty of vegetables, herbs, and iced desserts that you can enjoy.
Below, a quick guide on what foods to eat in summer.
Bring on the Veggies
Vegetables are full of phytonutrients that support a healthy immune system. Over time, this helps to lower our risk of chronic diseases, cancer included. We encourage consuming 3 cups of vegetables per day. Embrace summer vegetables by grilling or sauteing summer squash, peppers, corn, and zucchini. Try making our bright and refreshing Zucchini With Mint for a great side dish on a summer night.
Use Herbs Liberally
Fresh herbs and spices can be bought at almost any grocery store, and in the summertime, you can also find lovely options at farmers’ markets. Herbs add tons of flavors to any dish or beverage and contain vitamins and minerals that are important for cancer prevention. Some summer herbs include mint, oregano, and basil.
Mint contains antioxidants and helps with digestion. This can be beneficial in helping reduce the severity of nausea and indigestion from chemotherapy. Add mint to teas or even make Mint Water for extra flavor. Try our Mint & Hibiscus Tea for a hot or iced beverage during the summer.
Another summer herb, oregano, has many immune-boosting properties. Oregano is extremely versatile and can be added to a variety of dishes and marinades, and can help improve taste changes by adding an aromatic herb to chicken or turkey.
Basil garners accolades for great taste, but it also provides a number of vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Studies have found that basil contains eugenol, which has anti-bacterial properties. Try our Pasta with Zucchini & Basil or our Basil Pesto — two classics for a perfect summer meal.
Everyone loves dessert, and in the summer, there is often a craving for something cold and sweet. Cold desserts are soothing and easy to digest, especially when having a rough day going through treatment. These fun Raspberry Lemon Ice Pops are perfect on a hot summer day and are easy to eat. Granitas are also a popular dessert during the summer. Granitas are a semi-frozen dessert made from fruit, sugar, and sometimes herbs. They will help you stay hydrated and give you a soothing, sweet finish to a meal. Try our Watermelon Granita for a new summer dessert!
Especially with the warmer weather, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. Water helps with digestion, nutrient absorption from food, and softening bowel movements. Water can prevent dehydration, which is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy patients often complain about water having a metallic taste. As a solution, you can add fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to your water to make it more flavorful. A few of our favorite summertime hydrating beverages to help mask the metallic taste:
Enjoy the sunshine, but don’t forget to stay cool, nourished, and hydrated!
Alyssa Adler was CFYL’s 2016 summer web intern after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics. Alyssa has since gone on to earn her Master’s degree, and is now a Clinical Nutritionist at Mt. Sinai’s St. Luke’s hospital here in New York City. She also has a food blog called Red Delicious and Nutritious which focuses on healthy eating and living and how decadent foods can be made wholesome and delicious. A woman after our own heart!