August, the last full month of summer, is prime time to bask in the bountiful warm-weather harvest. Load up on the superstars below, then fire up the grill. Let us know what seasonal superfoods are your favorite in the comments below.
Why We Love It: One serving has just 46 calories, plus nearly an entire day's worth of vitamins A and C. It's also a very good source of potassium, and loaded with hydrating water, says Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD.
How To Enjoy: Of course you can enjoy it raw and on its own, but Dulan suggests making a fruit salad with a little feta or mint.
Why We Love It: This late-summer staple is low in calories (just 29 in a cup) and high in fiber, vitamins A, C and K and potassium. "It's a good food to add bulk and substance to your diet without a lot of calories," says Dulan.
How To Enjoy: A truly versatile veggie, zucchini is tasty grilled, raw, stuffed -- or get creative and try it in pancakes, as chips or to replace the noodles in homemade lasagna. You can even bake them as a healthier take on French fries.
Why We Love It: The purple beauty is a good source of vitamins B6 and K and a very good source of fiber. It's a low-calorie source of over a dozen different types of disease-fighting antioxidants, Shape reported. That purple color is a dead giveaway for heart and memory benefits, among others.
How To Enjoy: Try it sauteed or grilled or cubed, in a stir fry or on a sandwich. Eggplant also makes for a tasty dip or tapenade.
Why We Love Them: Berries in general are loaded with fiber and antioxidants all for very few calories. They've been shown to slow cognitive decline, protect the heart and lower blood pressure, among other benefits. Blackberries are a good source of potassium and vitamin E and a very good source of fiber, vitamins C and K and manganese.
How To Enjoy: Drop 'em into a glass of ice water or seltzer for some natural flavor or add them raw to salads. Of course, blackberries also make for yummy baked goods -- just don't overdo it on the sweets!
Yellow Summer Squash
Why We Love It: Like its relative zucchini, yellow summer squash -- sometimes called crookneck or straightneck squash -- is rich in fiber, vitamins C and K and potassium, all for very few calories.
How To Enjoy: Try it grilled, in a summery soup or even as a pizza topping. A grilling tray or basket is an easy way to prepare your veggies right alongside your main meal on the grill, says Dulan.
Earlier on HuffPost:
Don't be thrown off by the scaly skin -- the exterior of this heart-shaped green fruit isn't for eating. Once ripe (it will feel soft to the touch), the skin turns brown, ABC News reported, and <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/story?id=7095647&page=1#.UbdBpvY4U4c" target="_blank">inside will be a creamy flesh</a> that gives the cherimoya its nickname, the custard apple. The fruit tastes like a <a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/photos/15-fruits-youve-probably-never-heard-of/cherimoya" target="_blank">cross between a banana and a pineapple</a>, according to Mother Nature Network. (Don't eat the black seeds, either.) It boasts more fiber than an apple with seven grams per fruit, and it packs <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1860/2" target="_blank">60 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C</a> to boot.
Technically called the carambola, this tropical fruit is more commonly known as the star fruit, thanks to the shape of its slices. It can add <a href="http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-shortcuts/carambola#slide-5" target="_blank">tart flavor to seafood or meat dishes</a>, registered dietitian Mira Ilic told Woman's Day, and makes a tasty jam or chutney. Fresh, a medium-sized fruit packs only 28 calories, plus some <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1858/2" target="_blank">potassium, fiber and more than half your daily recommended vitamin C</a>, with the watery goodness of a watermelon and the <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/story?id=7095647&page=4#.UbdGyPY4U4c" target="_blank">crunch of a cucumber</a>, ABC News reported.
Who shrunk the oranges?! These miniature bites may look cute, but they pack serious flavor in that tiny package. While they appear to be in the citrus family, <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18828304" target="_blank">some botanists classify them as Fortunella</a> instead, NPR reported. Still, they share similar health benefits with lip-puckering citrus, namely <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1935/2" target="_blank">vitamin C and fiber</a> -- especially since <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/story?id=7095647&page=3#.UbdGkfY4U4c" target="_blank">you can eat the whole thing, rind and all</a>. Just stay away from the "candied" variety; the syrupy sugar added to mitigate that natural tartness really only adds empty calories. Try kumquats sliced raw into salads or cooked into a chutney for seafood or meat dishes, NPR suggests.
Technically called a pitaya or pitahaya, this cactus -- yes, cactus! -- is a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/dining/dragon-fruit-has-a-knack-for-getting-noticed.html" target="_blank">hot-pink showstopper</a>. "From the outside the fruit looks like a hot pink bulb ringed with a jester's crown of curly greenish petals," The New York Times wrote in 2011: <blockquote>Slice it open, and there's a white (or, on rare occasions, fuchsia) scoop of sweet pulp speckled with tiny black seeds. Either way, it suggests an Easter bonnet that Cruella de Vil might wear in a drag remake of "101 Dalmatians."</blockquote> Its taste, however, is much less flashy, which is why dragon fruit is often added to dishes (or drinks) with "soft" flavors, according to the Times, like strawberry or even rose petal. It's rich in fiber and antioxidants, CBS reported, and <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/07/16/the-latest-superfood-craze-pitaya/" target="_blank">may contain some healthy pre-biotics</a>.
This finger-like fruit has a lemony taste without the pulpy texture of citrus. The rind works well for zesting, registered dietitian Jennifer Dimitriou told Woman's Day, since it packs even more flavor than a more traditional citrus fruit. Plus, it's <a href="http://www.melissas.com/Products/Products/Buddha-s-Hand.aspx" target="_blank">loaded with vitamin C</a>. Just one tablespoon provides 13 percent of your daily recommended intake.
This spiky fruit could pass for a video game hazard. Also known as a horned melon or an <a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/photos/15-fruits-youve-probably-never-heard-of/african-horned-cucumber" target="_blank">African horned cucumber</a> (or "blowfish fruit," for obvious reasons), you only eat the juicy green insides, which <a href="http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-shortcuts/carambola#slide-6" target="_blank">taste like a mix of zucchini, cucumber, kiwi and banana</a>, according to Woman's Day and Mother Nature Network. Since the fruit is mostly water, kiwano can help keep you hydrated on a hot day, especially since it's <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2462" target="_blank">rich in potassium</a>. The fruit also boasts <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2462" target="_blank">vitamins A and C and some iron</a>.
The largest fruit to grow on trees <a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/photos/15-fruits-youve-probably-never-heard-of/jackfruit" target="_blank">can reach up to 80 pounds</a>(!), according to Mother Nature Network. Described as having a "buttery flesh," jackfruit is somewhat starchy and makes for tasty homemade chips. A number of curry recipes call for the fruit, although it <a href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/2011/07/you_dont_know_j.php?page=2" target="_blank">can also be eaten raw</a>, the Village Voice reported. It's a <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1930/2" target="_blank">good source of vitamin C and manganese</a>, a mineral found in the bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas that is also <a href="http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/manganese-000314.htm" target="_blank">essential for brain and nerve function</a>.
This lesser-known <a href="http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/rambutan.html" target="_blank">relative of the lychee</a> deserves a share of the spotlight. The grape-like flesh can be eaten raw right out of the anemone-looking exterior -- <a href="http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-shortcuts/carambola#slide-10" target="_blank">just discard the seed</a>. The fruit contains some vitamin C, iron and manganese, but beware canned varieties which may be packed in sugary syrup.
Underneath that tough shell, the fruit of the mangosteen is <a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/photos/15-fruits-youve-probably-never-heard-of/mangosteen" target="_blank">"sweet, tangy, citrusy and peachy,"</a> according to Mother Nature Network. It packs some fiber, iron and vitamin C and is a <a href="http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/" target="_blank">good source of folate</a>, a B vitamin especially important for pregnant women. It can carry a hefty price tag fresh, but keep in mind that <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1953/2" target="_blank">canned versions often are packed in syrup</a> (read: sugar).
You've probably come across it in powdered form on your spice rack, but that turmeric actually starts out as a pretty gnarly looking root. It will take a little grinding or grating, but you can toss it into any number of dishes (or <a href="http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831529" target="_blank">even smoothies</a>) to reap a number of health benefits. Those perks are likely due to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/curcumin-diabetes-type-2-turmeric-curry-spice_n_1720326.html" target="_blank">curcumin</a>, the active ingredient in turmeric, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. There's some research to suggest curcumin could help <a href="http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/turmeric" target="_blank">fight off some types of cancer</a>, arthritis and even Alzheimer's disease, among other ailments, according to the American Cancer Society. Like other <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/healthy-herbs-spices-healthiest_n_2089007.html" target="_blank">herbs and spices</a>, turmeric is a way to add lots of flavor without lots of calories, salt or fat.