It’s the peak of summer. Here are ways to stay at your personal best through July.
Bell peppers, now coming into season at area farms and backyard gardens, are nutritious summer vegetables – and they’re pretty, too.
Angela Ginn, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says peppers are “rich in antioxidants,” vitamins that are thought to help fight disease by disarming inflammation-causing rogue oxygen molecules in the body.
Fairfax County dietitian Danielle Omar points out that a red pepper has 1.5 to two times as much Vitamin C as an orange; similar size green peppers also have more than oranges. The red variety, which is really just a ripened green pepper, also has lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of some cancers.
Peppers of all varieties make great summer snacks, Ginn says, because their taste and crunch are satisfying, but their calorie count — about 25 to 30 per medium pepper — is so low, you can even splurge a few calories on a dip.
Alas, peppers aren’t nature’s highest-fiber vegetables. But Ginn says they play well with fiber-rich foods such as salad, whole-grain pasta, brown rice and barley.
Both Ginn and Omar love roasting peppers. Ginn suggests removing the stem and seeds, brushing the outside of the peppers with a little olive oil or spraying with a vegetable-oil spray such as Pam, and placing them in the oven on a roasting pan for 40 to 50 minutes till they “have lost their shape and are tender and pliable.” Eat them as is or use them to top one of the fibery foods above.