Summer’s in full bloom and the sun is shining despite our limits to the beach.  It’s time to change up the menu to include more foods in season and preferably local. Eating seasonally also reduces the personal carbon footprint and supports a more sustainable food economy by limiting how far food travels.

There’s never been a more pressing time in modern history where people’s health has been in the forefront. The pandemic is only growing and so are people’s feelings of anxiety. But health isn’t only important when illness strikes, the immune system can grow like a muscle and certain foods can help fight the cold, flu, and other infections.

Here are some in season foods to add to your meals that help boost your immune system and be healthy: 

LimesContrary to popular belief, limes are the only citrus fruit in season in summer. These little green fruits are rich in vitamin C and are ubiquitous in a variety of dishes and drinks. Vitamin C, although not exactly a cure, benefits the immune system in preventing complications from colds and flus as well as benefits to much more extreme health issues. Lime is also a good source of potassium, vitamins A, B, and D, calcium, and magnesium. 

GarlicShockingly, garlic is in season in the summer and fall. It’s found in every cuisine in the world and other than warding off vampires, they’re also helpful in boosting immunity. Their special health benefits comes from the high concentration of sulfur-containing compounds. I don’t know any meal that hasn’t benefited from the addition of garlic. 

SpinachI know everyone has probably been told to eat their greens growing up. And there’s a reason for that. Dark, leafy greens are packed with nutrients that help the body work well and fight off infections. While Popeye made spinach famous, the real superpower comes from antioxidants and vitamin A. Spinach can also help with eye health and reduce oxidative stress. And it’s great in quiche. 

CucumbersWith the summer heat, it’s important to stay hydrated. Cucumbers are 96 percent water, crazy I know. On top of that, people get about 40% of their water through food instead of drinks. But in addition, they’re packed with things like antioxidants, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Add these to a salad or blend it into a smoothie.

Photo from Fragmento Universo

Red bell peppersIf you think an orange has more vitamin C than a red bell pepper, you’re wrong. In addition to all the internal health benefits associated with vitamin C, it also helps maintain healthy, glowing skin. These versatile vegetables can be added to a variety of dishes of different cuisines. Chop it, sauté it, or stuff it, the possibilities are endless for bell peppers. 

The possibilities are endless this summer in your kitchen with stay-at-home orders. There’s no better time to experiment in making amazing dishes even if it’s just for yourself.