Spring has sprung and it’s time to welcome the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are now in the season. Here are five nutrient packed superstars to help jazz up your menus, lighten your diet and reboot your health.
Strawberries: Good for skin: They may not have the smoothest complexion themselves, but strawberries can get you one. They are one of the most potent sources of Vitamin C, which helps your body produce collagen, a structural protein that keeps skin youthful, firm and radiant. They are also one of the lowest calorie and lowest sugar fruit options, which means they are perfect pick for people looking to lose a few pounds or manage diabetes. Direct application of the antioxidants in strawberries as well as the natural exfoliant they contain, alpa-hydroxy acid will give your skin great results.
Asparagus: Good for Mood: These spears are one of the best veggie sources of folate, a B vitamin that could help keep you out of slump. One cup provides more than half of your daily requirement for Vitamin K, which plays as important role in blood clotting and maintaining bone strength. Asparagus is also a good vegetarian source of iron which helps keep your bones, hair and nails strong. Serve a side of steamed, roasted or grilled asparagus with dinner or toss in omelets or salads.
Artichokes: Good for energy: If you have been huffing and puffing up the stairs try these spiky leafed vegetables. They are loaded with magnesium, a mineral vital biochemical reactions in the body. If you are not getting enough magnesium, your muscles have to work harder to react and you tire more quickly. Just one cup of artichokes delivers an astounding 9 grams of fiber — about a third of most people’s daily requirement! Fiber promotes regularity, lowers cholesterol levels, and improves blood-sugar control. It’s key to any weight-loss plan, since eating fiber-rich meals helps keep you full so you’re less prone to continual snacking. Steam or grill whole chokes and serve with a heart-healthy lemon and olive-oil vinaigrette for dipping. You can also look for frozen or canned hearts, which are already prepped and waiting to be tossed into salads or pasta dishes.
Spinach: Good for Energy: These tasty leaves are a great source of iron which is the key component in red blood cells that fuel our muscles with oxygen for energy. Spinach is rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Mix fresh baby spinach leaves with traditional lettuce to increase your salad’s nutrient quotient — or thaw a box of frozen, chopped spinach and add it to marinara sauce or lasagna
Peas: Fresh peas are a true delicacy. Their growing season is short-lived and they don’t have a long shelf-life, so they can be hard to find, but definitely grab them if you get the chance. A cup provides 115 calories and more than seven grams of fiber, including a good dose of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Peas are also a good fiber source for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) since their soluble fiber is easier to digest than other types of fiber and helps improve regularity. Add shelled, cooked peas to a whole-grain pasta salad, or make a simple yet extremely elegant side dish by sautéing peas in olive oil and garnishing with fresh torn mint leaves and lemon.
What are some of your favorite spring superfoods?
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