10 Fitness-Boosting Summer Fruits and Vegetables

Everyone knows fruits and vegetables boost our body's immune health and fitness. And when the weather warms up, we find ourselves reaching for seasonal favorites.

The beauty of the summer months is virtually every fruit and veggie at the market is bright, juicy and full of flavor. These are 10 of summer's best that are sure to help you boost your fitness.

More: Summer's Best Superfoods

Summer Squash

Summer squash is chock-full of manganese. That's the mineral responsible for protein and carbohydrate metabolism, making it the perfect summer vegetable for athletes. On top of that, summer squash is packed with immune-boosting antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) and low in calories. One cup of summer squash contains only 36 calories. Select the best-tasting summer squash by finding ones that are heavy for their size. Drizzle them with olive oil, add a dash of salt and pepper, and saut?e or grill.

More: The Diet Detective: Your Guide to Antioxidants

Sugar Snap Peas

From the green pea family, sugar snap peas are a mix of garden peas and snow peas. Their shell is edible, crisp and flavorful. One of the biggest health benefits of peas in general is that they're high in B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6 and folate), which are responsible for carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can result in fatigue. Add sugar snap peas to a summer salad for a sweet boost of energy and nutrients.

More: Boost Your Heart Health With Leek and Pea Soup

Hot Peppers

If you love a little extra heat, hot peppers are for you. All colors in the hot pepper family contain ranging amounts of vitamin C, carotenoids and B vitamins. The peppers brightest in red color contain the most. For athletes, a boost in vitamin C can increase energy and immune function by its ability to help our bodies absorb iron. Because hot peppers require warm weather to ripen, you're more likely to find a better selection at the end of the summer months.

More: Make Delicious Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
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About the Author

Shoshana Pritzker

Shoshana Pritzker is a registered dietitian and certified dietitian nutritionist on Long Island, New York. She served as online editor-in-chief and senior editor of FitnessRx for Women magazine from 2008 through 2012, and has been featured in Oxygen Magazine as well as other national media outlets. Shoshana provides nutrition counseling in areas including sports nutrition, weight loss, general nutrition, kids nutrition, pre- and post-natal, wedding prep, meal planning and recipe development. Read her blog Shodelicious.com, or find her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Shoshana Pritzker is a registered dietitian and certified dietitian nutritionist on Long Island, New York. She served as online editor-in-chief and senior editor of FitnessRx for Women magazine from 2008 through 2012, and has been featured in Oxygen Magazine as well as other national media outlets. Shoshana provides nutrition counseling in areas including sports nutrition, weight loss, general nutrition, kids nutrition, pre- and post-natal, wedding prep, meal planning and recipe development. Read her blog Shodelicious.com, or find her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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