Springtime is the season of renewal. The weather starts warming up and the flowers are blooming. Perhaps best of all is the abundance of fresh vegetables available. Vegetables provide a wealth of nutrients that critically important to a healthy diet, one of the Six Keys to Optimal Health. Nutrition research shows that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. They are normally fat-free, cholesterol-free and a great source of fiber, so now is the time to indulge in spring vegetables.
Why Eating in Season Matters
It’s true, you can often find fresh produce that is out of season. For instance, blueberries grow during summer months, but you can find them in stores all year long. That means they have either been stored for a long time or have been shipped in from a region of the world. Often that region is at the opposite end of the earth. Here is why both situations are not ideal.
- Vitamins and nutrients diminish over time, so the longer produce is stored, the less nutritious they are. According to the New York Times, “that many fruits and vegetables experience rapid losses in their nutritional value when stored for more than a few days.
- Preserving produce for a long time often requires chemicals to inhibit sprouting and a wax coating to seal in moisture.
- Shipping creates pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, harming the environment.
The best thing you can do to take advantage of seasonal vegetables is to buy from a local farmer’s market. Not only will the produce taste better, but you will be consuming it at the peak of its freshness and nutritional value. Plus, you will be supporting local farmers and building better communities.
Our Favorite Spring Vegetables:
Asparagus has potent diuretic properties which helps to regulate glandular disorders and kidney function. It is high in potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, which helps to prevent blood clotting. It’s typically green in color, but it can also be found in white. White asparagus hasn’t been exposed to sunlight.
Like asparagus, artichokes also have diuretic properties and can be useful in treating water retention. Artichokes help to stabilize metabolism and lower both blood cholesterol and sugar. They contain as much as 10 grams of fiber each and since fiber helps you feel full, they can aid in weight control. Choose artichokes that feel firm and heavy, with bright green and sturdy leaves.
This peppery lettuce tastes milder in the spring when the leaves are a lighter shade green. Darker leaves indicate the arugula is older and stronger in taste. Packed with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Calcium, Manganese, and Folate, arugula normalizes body acids and treats acidosis.
One serving of broccoli exceeds the recommended daily allowance of Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is especially important because it protects the body from damaging free radicals. Additionally, it’s high in fiber, which can lower cholesterol and promote a healthy digestive tract. Potassium found in broccoli supports the nervous system.
This is one of the best dietary sources of beta carotene, which boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of many cancers. The abundance of vitamin A in carrots helps to improve your vision and improve skin tone. Plus, the lycopene in carrots is also good for your heart.
Be careful when buying baby carrots, if the label says “baby-cut” carrots, they are not really baby carrots. Baby-cut carrots are regular carrots, machine-cut to a small size, peeled, and polished.
Mustard greens have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. A typical serving delivers 500% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, 175% of your Vitamin A, and 60% of your Vitamin C. Mustard greens strengthen the immune system, help with anemia, and build strong bones and teeth.
Radishes have Vitamin C and are known to control damage to our red blood cells. They also increase oxygen supply to the blood and cleanse the stomach, gallbladder, and liver. If that wasn’t enough, radishes contain RsAPF2, which is good for treating candida and can ease cold and flu symptoms.
Peas have a storehouse of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, B6, Magnesium, and iron. Peas contain an abundant amount of fiber, which has been shown to help the growth of good bacteria in the intestine and provide many benefits for digestive health.
The nutritional value is just one of the reasons why now is the time to indulge in spring vegetables. For most of us, the main reason is taste. Many are delicate in texture, nuanced in flavor, and can be prepared in so many ways. It takes little culinary skill to make them the star of the dinner table. A simple salad with a light vinaigrette can provide the base for grilled seafood. Steamed spring vegetables dressed in butter or olive oil and sesame seeds can steal the show. And a bowl of nothing but fresh peas and rice is comfort food at its finest. For more information on diet, the other five keys to optimal health, and the most effective CBD products available, visit our website, naturallyyoufl. There you can start a chat or find great resources to help guide your journey in health and wellness.