Summer is almost in full swing and that means it is time to pull out the summer clothes and the summer recipes. On your next trip to the grocery store, try picking up tomatoes and cucumbers over artichokes and asparagus. Today, we will be looking at ten healthy foods that are great for the summertime, your immune system, and your brain.

1. Salmon
While low in calories and saturated fat, salmon is a great source of protein and chock full of vitamin B-12, potassium, iron, and vitamin D. Health experts suggest that people have two portions of seafood a week and those that are high in omega-3’s are the best. Omega-3 is our focus for adding salmon to your summer recipe repertoire because it is great for a heart-healthy diet. It is also moderately helpful with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and is helpful with brain function as brain cells with higher counts of the fatty acid are thought to be better at communicating.

Try this recipe for your summer salmon.

2. Flaxseed
Flaxseed has been cultivated for a long time, nearly since the beginning of civilization. Its Latin name translates to “Very Useful.” Like salmon, Flax or Flaxseed oil contains Omega-3s, but they also have lignans and fiber. Lignans, because of their chemical structure, are attributed to health benefits such as the reduced risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, and breast cancer.

Check out this guide to adding more Flaxseed to your diet.

3. Acai
Acai berries are becoming a very popular choice for Americans these days. Generally prepared in a bowl with granola and other fruit, Acai is full of antioxidants and trace minerals that are great for your diet. Because of this unique mineral and antioxidant profile, Acai berries have been shown in some studies to promote brain function as you age by helping to stimulate a process called autophagy. This process helps clear toxic or non-working cells in the brain and leads to new nerves being formed.

Try this recipe to build your next acai bowl.

4. Watermelon
A staple of summer get-togethers, sliced watermelon is essentially synonymous with summer. Watermelon is the choice of summer because it is very hydrating, but it also has lots of vitamins and minerals that are great for a healthy diet like vitamins C, A, B1, B5, B6, as well as potassium and magnesium. While it also has an amino acid called citrulline, the most fascinating part of the magnificent melon is that it contains lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is being studied in its relation to delaying the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

If you want to do more than just chop slices of watermelon, try this salad.

5. Spinach
Popeye’s vegetable of choice is an incredibly healthy food as it is extremely nutrient-rich. The list of vitamin, mineral, and plant compounds that have a positive effect on your overall health is a long one, but the stand out for our purposes here is folic acid. Folic acid, while important for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, is also helpful in the fight against the decline in memory and thinking skills as we age.

Try this summer salad to incorporate some spinach into your life.

6. Ginger
Ginger is not your typical summer food. While ginger may seem like more of a fall ingredient, it is worth rotating into your summer drinks (like the recipe below). Like many of the foods on this list, ginger has bioactive compounds that fight inflammation and antioxidants that fight oxidative stress. Both of these have a positive effect on your brain function as you age, so adding ginger to your routine will aid your brain health.

Try this refreshing ginger drink the next time temperatures get high.

7. Red Bell Peppers
When you have a cold, one of the first things people suggest is orange juice. This is because it is good to hydrate while sick, but also because oranges have a lot of vitamin C, which supports your immune system. While oranges may be a good source of vitamin C, one of the best dietary sources of this vitamin is red bell peppers. One medium-sized red bell pepper has 169% of your reference daily intake for vitamin C.

Check out this list of ways to add red bell peppers to your life.

8. Coffee
A staple of most Americans, coffee is used to wake up in the morning and get ready for the day. While the positive and negative health effects have been debated in popular media, a life of caffeine consumption that is present in coffee is associated with the prevention of cognitive decline, and reduced risk of developing stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Check out this link for what Damn Delicious calls the perfect iced coffee.

9. Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years for its anti-inflammatory effects though it has been in use in India for centuries. The distinctly yellow spice found in most curries contains the active ingredient called curcumin, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with brain cells directly. Because of this ability, it has been shown to help improve the overall memory of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Try this turmeric iced tea on a hot day.

10. Eggs
Another staple of the American diet, eggs are a great way to start the day. The reason for this is that it is a good source of many nutrients, but most importantly it contains choline. This micronutrient helps to create acetylcholine, which helps regulate mood and memory. One egg yolk has 112 mg of choline which is about the same amount as salmon. It is important to note that it is recommended that women have 425 mg and men have 550 mg of choline per day for a healthy diet. So, two eggs in the morning is a great first step towards the daily recommended amount.

Try this recipe out for a good way to start the day with eggs this summer.

That’s all ten! There are lots of great foods out there for a healthy brain and a healthy immune system, but try out the summer recipes linked to include these ten into your day.

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