summer superfoods

11 summer superfoods to boost health

Plus recipes for each one!

Summer is Mother Nature’s blockbuster season. Some faves come early, some late, and some keep coming all summer long. There are dozens of summer superfoods, but here are 11 rock stars — complete with health benefits, harvest season, and a link to a delicious, do-able recipe for each one from our Pinterest library.


This fragrant herb is popular for its flavor. Its impressive nutrition content is less well known, but it’s actually a great source for vitamin K, manganese, and magnesium, with strong antioxidant and antibacterial qualities. Together they help fight illness and infection. Add to a salad or marinade, sprinkle over berries and ice cream, or tear it into a summer cocktail. Virginia harvest season: May-November. Try this recipe: Easy Caprese Salad

Bell Peppers

All colors of sweet bell peppers deliver plenty of vitamin C, as well as some fiber and vitamin B6. Red peppers also contain beta-carotene and lycopene, antioxidants that help prevent cancer, improve cognitive function, and support healthy lungs and skin. Those red colored peppers also give you twice the amount of vitamin C you’d get from a citrus orange. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers


These antioxidant-packed fruits contain anthocyanins, the flavonoids that give cherries their deep red color along with some serious superpowers. They help regulate immune responses and act as an anti-inflammatory. The sour varieties of this fruit may be even more helpful as an anti-inflammatory. In fact, studies suggest tart cherries could be more effective than aspirin at relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Virginia harvest season: May-August. Try this recipe: Cherry Bread Pudding


It’s one of the world’s healthiest foods. The anthocyanins in it protect heart health. Its nasunin may help improve blood flow to the brain. It also contains chlorogenic acid, a powerful free-radical scavenger that helps prevent cancer. It supports strong bones, boosts cognition, and protects the digestive system. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach


Sweet and tangy and bursting with antioxidants, grapes are a good source of vitamin K. That helps blood clot and may contribute to strong bones. A study in Experimental Gerontology found that eating grapes twice a day for six months protected against metabolic decline in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, and enriched metabolic activity in areas of the brain related to memory and attention. You can snack on them fresh, frozen, or add to salads, salsas, or smoothies. Virginia harvest season: August-October. Try this recipe: Muscadine Almond Smoothie


Every time you bite into a juicy summer peach, you’re getting a dose of antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and potassium. Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and may aid in muscle recovery after a workout. Virginia harvest season: June-September. Try this recipe: Balsamic Peach Chicken

Summer Squash

Zucchini and yellow squash are excellent sources of vitamin C and antioxidants for a strong immune system and good eye health. Use a spiralizer to make a healthy pasta substitute, chop them up and add raw to a grain salad, or brush slices with olive oil and grill. Virginia harvest season: May-September. Try this recipe: Summer Squash, Bacon & Mozzarella Quiche

Sweet Corn

Is it a veggie or a grain? One thing we can be sure of is that it’s a rich source of vitamin B1, vitamin B5, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese, folate, and fiber. All of which means that, on or off the cob, it’s good for your heart, eyes, cancer prevention, and memory enhancement. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Cowboy Caviar

Swiss Chard

This dark leafy green may look like it belongs in winter, but it reaches its peak during summer. It’s also full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, as well as magnesium, which helps fight depression and migraines, and control blood sugar levels. It’s also got potassium for good blood pressure, heart health, and bone and muscle strength. Add to your salad mix, use it as a sandwich or burger wrap, steam it, or add it to soups and stews. Virginia harvest season: All summer. Try this recipe: Swiss Chard Rolls


These guys deliver an army of antioxidants that have been shown to fight various cancers. They’re also a rich source of vitamins like vitamin C and the beta-carotene that makes them red also makes them good for your eyes and skin. Minerals like potassium and phosphorus protect against cardiovascular disease, build strong bones and teeth, and help reduce blood pressure and inflammation. They detoxify the body and are good for your stomach and urinary tract. Virginia harvest season: July-October. Try this recipe: Tuscan Lentil Soup


Low in sugar and high in vitamins A and C, this summer treat can be eaten as a refreshing snack, a low-calorie dessert, or part of larger dish. Studies suggest watermelon may lower blood pressure and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus the lycopene in watermelon could help protect the body from UV rays and cancer. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Watermelon Salad with Mint & Crispy Prosciutto


Since 2011. , Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at

potato nutrition facts

Amazing potato nutrition facts


Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Behold the mighty potato!

Fresh potatoes like the ones grown by the McKenney family at Sion House Farm in Farnham, Va., above, may look like pretty dull company. But beneath every potato’s mild-mannered exterior lies a super-tasty, super-nutritional SuperSpud! Or they are when you eat potatoes fresh like these– not processed into store-bought fries, tater tots, hashbrowns, or potato chips.

The healthiest way to cook a fresh potato is to...

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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potato nutrition facts

Amazing potato nutrition facts

Behold the mighty potato!

Adapted from Live Science:

Fresh potatoes like the ones grown by the McKenney family at Sion House Farm in Farnham, Va., above, may look like pretty dull company. But beneath every potato’s mild-mannered exterior lies a super-tasty, super-nutritional SuperSpud! Or they are when you eat them fresh, like these, not processed into store-bought French fries, chips, tater tots, or hashbrowns.

Prior to the 1960s, Americans ate most of their potatoes fresh. But as freezing technology improved, processed potatoes became more popular. Today, the USDA says processed ‘taters eat up 64 percent of the potatoes we consume! Compare that to just 35 percent in the ’60s. Americans, on average, eat 55 pounds of frozen potatoes per year, 42 pounds of fresh potatoes, 17 pounds of potato chips, and 14 pounds of dehydrated potato products — whatever the heck that is.

That’s a lot of potatoes. No wonder potatoes are the #1 vegetable crop in the United States and the fourth most-consumed crop in the world. According to the bean counters at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they’re beaten only by rice, wheat, and corn.

Anyway, potatoes are often thought of as a comfort food — mashed with rich butter and sour cream or fried up crisp in vegetable oil. But when you prepare them like that, they can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Of course, grassfed butter is a different matter, because grassfed results in healthy fats.

In fact, a study published in 2017 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate fried potatoes twice a week wound up with an increased risk of death. Yikes!

But happily, the study did not find any correlation between non-fried potato consumption and increased death. This backs up University of Texas nutritionist Victoria Jarzabkowski, who argues that potatoes aren’t necessarily bad for you.

The healthiest way to cook potatoes

Baked, boiled, or steamed — which is healthiest? Well, the best way to eat a potato is in its whole, unprocessed form. So baking, or roasting, a potato is the best way to prepare it. Roasting loses the fewest nutrients.

The next-healthiest way to cook a potato is to steam it. The worst thing you can do is boil it, because if it’s cut up or peeled, all the water-soluble nutrients leach out into the water. That includes B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. As much as 80 percent of a potato’s vitamin C goes down the drain if you boil it.

The same thing can happen when peeled or cut-up raw potatoes are left to soak to keep them from darkening. Exposing any cut up veggie to air is no better — air, light, and heat are the enemies of nutrients. Best to do all the prep right before you cook whenever possible.

So when you cook potatoes the right way, without heaps of butter, cheese, or cream (unless all that dairy’s grassfed, because grass produces healthy fats), they really can be good for you. Just check out these amazing potato nutrition facts.

Amazing Fact #1: The skin is the best part

Don’t peel that potato! However you cook it, try to eat the skin. Ounce for ounce, the skin contains more nutrients — including the majority of the spud’s fiber — than the rest of the potato! Speaking of skin…

Amazing Fact #2: Potatoes are your skin’s best friend

According to Organic Facts, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous can all help keep skin as smooth and creamy as, well, mashed potatoes. These nutrients are all present in potatoes, mashed or not.

Amazing Fact #3: Potatoes are lo-cal

Lo-cal, as in low calorie. Potatoes weigh in at just 110 calories for a medium-sized baked potato. And they’ve got zero fat calories. So a spud’s calorie count is not going to add to your waistline. By the way, in addition to being fat-free, potatoes are also cholesterol-free.

Amazing Fact #4: Potatoes’ relationship with blood sugar is… complicated

While a potato’s low calorie count won’t make you loosen your belt, they are starchy carbohydrates with very little protein. And those carbs are the kind that the body digests rapidly. They’ve got what’s called a high glycemic index value. Potato carbs cause blood sugar and insulin to surge and then dip, so you may wind up feeling hungry again soon after eating. That can lead to overeating. Plus the rapid rise in blood sugar can also lead to increased insulin production — not a good thing if you’re diabetic.

On the other hand, potatoes are also a great source of fiber, and the fiber content helps you feel fuller longer.

Meanwhile… a 2016 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that different people respond to a food’s glycemic index value in different ways. So this study suggests that the glycemic index is only somewhat useful when it comes to making food choices.

Bottom line: Whether or not you should avoid potatoes depends on how your individual body reacts to them. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

Amazing Fact #5: Potatoes and arthritis — also complicated

Some people think potatoes and other members of the nightshade family — such as eggplants, tomatoes and peppers — trigger arthritis flares. However, the Arthritis Foundation says there is limited scientific evidence to support this hypothesis. They suggest that arthritis sufferers try cutting nightshade vegetables from their diets for two weeks to see if symptoms improve.

Some studies indicate these vegetables may actually help reduce arthritis symptoms, the foundation said. For example, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that potatoes might actually reduce inflammation.

Again, figure out what works best for you.

Amazing Fact #6: Potatoes may help prevent cancer

A 2017 study published by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that consuming purple potatoes might reduce the risk of colon cancer. Purple potatoes are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce levels of a protein linked to cancer cell growth in the colon.

Amazing Fact #7: Potatoes have as much vitamin C as half an orange

Spuds are the new citrus! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and antioxidants ward off damaging free radicals that destroy healthy cells throughout your body.

Vitamin C also keeps your immune system strong, helps wounds heal properly, and aids in the absorption of a certain type of iron. Because of vitamin C’s many roles throughout your system, keeping up with your daily intake is important. Potatoes can get you there.

Amazing Fact #8: Potatoes may help lower blood pressure

According to Jarzabkowski, the nutritionist, there may be several reasons for this. All that fiber may help lower cholesterol by binding with cholesterol in the blood. “After it binds, we excrete it,” she says.

Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, even more than a banana. A lot of it is in the potato’s skin, which also contains a good deal of fiber. Potassium is a mineral that helps lower blood pressure, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, by widening blood vessels.

Plus, scientists at the Institute for Food Research have discovered that potatoes contain chemicals called kukoamines, which are also associated with lowering blood pressure.

Potatoes are just plain good for your heart. Vitamins C and B6 help reduce free radicals; and carotenoids help maintain proper heart functioning. B6 also plays a crucial role in preventing damage to blood vessel walls, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Amazing Fact #9: Potatoes make you smart

Potatoes’ high level of carbohydrates may have some advantages, like maintaining good levels of glucose in the blood. You need that for your brain to function properly. A 1995 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that modest increases in glucose could help enhance learning and memory. Potassium, by encouraging wider blood vessels, also helps ensure your brain gets enough blood.

Also, the B6 vitamins in potatoes are critical to maintaining neurological health. Vitamin B6 helps create useful brain chemicals, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This means that eating potatoes may help with depression, stress, and maybe even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Amazing Fact #10: Potatoes go down easy and come out the same way

Potatoes aid digestion, big time, due to their high fiber content, Jarzabkowski said. Their high level of carbohydrates also makes them easy to digest, while their fiber-filled skin can help keep you regular.

Amazing Fact #11: Potatoes are a win for athletes

When athletes sweat they lose sodium and potassium, two important electrolytes. Electrolytes are necessary for optimum body function, and having too few can cause cramps, as many athletes know. It just so happens that potato skins are full of sodium and potassium and can help restore electrolyte balance.

And last but not least…

Amazing Fact #12: Eek! Potatoes are poisonous… sort of

Potato stems, branches, and leaves are toxic, containing alkaloids such as arsenic, chaconine, and solanine. Solanine is “very toxic even in small amounts,” according to the National Institutes of Health. But, seriously, who eats the stems, branches, and leaves? No one.

Still, poison is also found in green potatoes. They turn green if they’re exposed to light too much. NIH says you should “never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin.”

What about a potato’s “eyes”? Are they poisonous? The “eyes” of potatoes are buds, which will sprout into branches if left alone. If they’re not sprouting, they’re totally edible. If they are sprouting, NIH recommends cutting off the eyes and the sprouts. Once that’s done, you can chow down on the rest of that ‘tater.

To get more details on the science and history of potatoes, read the original article.


Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at