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Summer’s Fresh Food and Fitness

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Now is a delicious time to improve your health. The healthiest produce is in season, and the gorgeous weather offers outdoor activities to exercise your body. The longer hours of sunlight, freshly picked fruits and vegetables make it easier to eat and get the right amount of exercise.

The freshest fruits and vegetables of the summer, including berries, plums, spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes, are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Antioxidants conquer harmful free radicals in your body that could otherwise cause damage, possibly leading to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other illness.

Here’s the antioxidant offering, measured by an international team of researchers and published in the Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat newsletter, of some of healthiest foods on earth.

Chart
Fresh food
Antioxidants (mmol/serving)
Blackberries
5.746
Walnuts
3.721
Strawberries
3.584
Artichokes
3.559
Cranberries
3.125
Coffee
2.959
Raspberries
2.870
Pecans
2.741
Blueberries
2.680
Cranberry juice
2.474
Cherries, sour
2.205
Red wine
2.199
Chocolate, dark, sugar-free
1.675
Cabbage, red, cooked
1.614
Oranges
1.261
Black plums
1.205
Spinach
1.040
Tomatoes
2.5


Do you know that berries, often called “youth berries” or “brain berries”? Berries are one of the most nourishing foods available. Packed with antioxidants, Vitamin E, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin C, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Riboflavin, and Niacin, loading up on berries could boost your health like no other food can. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends 1 cup of blueberries a day to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, senility, dementia, and degenerative eye disease. Plus, they’re low in calories! One cup of any type of berry will be less than 80 calories. (Check calorieking.com for specifics.)

Berries are not only a dieter’s dream, but they’re also easily transportable and perfect for summer fitness excursions. Toss them in a Ziploc bag with walnuts and sugar-free dark chocolate pieces for an energy-boosting trail mix suitable for rock climbing and kayaking.

Rock climbing will exercise your entire body and offer unsurpassed views of nature and thrills of adventure. Eastern Mountain Sports offers private and semi-private guided climbs in New Paltz and Lake Placid in New York, North Conway and Rumney in New Hampshire, and West Hartford in Connecticut.  (EMSClimb.com)
 
If rock climbing is too much for you, try kayaking, an excellent workout for your core and upper body. Explore the Hudson River Valley, one of the most scenic rivers in America. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned professional, Atlantic Kayak Tours offers tours every weekend through October. (
Atlantickayaktours.com)
 
When your body needs a break, recharge with summer fruit mixed in fat-free yogurt or cottage cheese. In addition, all the summer fruits are delicious in fruit smoothies and salads.

Also topping the antioxidant chart, artichokes are versatile and mouth-watering. Eat them cooked and braised with olive oil, chopped with tomatoes and served aside broiled fish, or toss them in a spinach-and-walnut salad, which you could easily take with you on a less-intense fitness outing, such as swimming, pedal-boating, or golfing.

If you are in spending the summer in the city, be sure to take advantage of our lovely parks. Prospect Park offers pedal-boating as a rejuvenating way to exercise your legs (prospectpark.org). Central Park has boats to rent, nature and bird walks and well-groomed jogging/walking trials, and concerts in the evening (centralpark.com). As another option, head out to one of the many well-groomed golf courses in the area, such as the five courses at Bethpage State Park, the largest public golf facility in the world.  Nygolfshuttle.com offers all-inclusive packages, including transportation to and from the Bethpage courses as well as several municipal and semi-private courses.

If you haven’t visited the exciting Chelsea Piers complex, I suggest that you make an excursion to check it out. Basketball courts, ice skating rink, bowling, yoga, Pilates, golf driving range, and state of the arts equipment make this a Disneyland for adults! (chelseapiers.com)  After you’ve exhausted your body and need some well-earned rest, try sailing the Hudson River.  Hudson River Sailing offers sunset cruises, full- and half-day charters, and overnight excursions. (HudsonRiverSailing.com

Before leaving today for a week in Wyoming to test my skills fishing and hiking, I want to wish everyone a healthy and happy summer. Please take advantage of all summer has to offer: the fresh food, the fitness, the fun. Boosting your health and living a fit life will only increase your ability to enjoy every day, no matter what season we are in.

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