Of course these days you can find just about any kind of fruit or veggie in the grocery store year-round. But… Do they really count? I mean when “fresh” produce is sent to us from a different continent, how fresh can that be? Produce shipped in from far and wide often must be harvested unripened to make up for travel time. Better than nothing, true... But now we can have the real deal!
Take a trip to your local farmers market and fill up your basket with this spring’s bounty. Local farmers pick their produce ripe, which studies have found to be more nutritious. Plus, the springtime foods that follow offer some great-for-the-body surprises.
These lovely spears are at their tastiest from March until June. Asparagus offers up vitamins B, C, and—who-knew—iron! You say asparagus makes your pee smell funky? Blame it on sulfurous amino acids, which break down during digestion into chemical components. But this is nothing to worry about, it’s totally normal and the odor fades fast. Also, this green is a natural diuretic and will help with any water weight you may be holding on to. (Bye-bye bloat!)
With lots of fiber and hardly any calories these veggies are a great addition to your diet. Artichokes also contain prebiotics, nondigestible carbs that feed health-giving probiotics, thus making your digestion better. This veggie is also rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin C. Bonus: It takes time to eat an artichoke, what with all those spiky leaves, so your belly has time to register that it's getting full.
They may come in small packages, but berries are nutritional powerhouses. Blackberries, dark and glossy, are loaded with a specific phytonutrient that helps power your brain. Blackberries are also a great source of several vitamins such as C and A and are very high in antioxidants. Furthermore, research suggests that berries are beneficial fruits for cancer prevention, so be sure to add a variety of them to your basket. Most of us know that blueberries are a powerhouse fruit. But did you know that they can also give memory a boost, and that their phytonutrients contribute to eye health as well? Place any kind or a variety of berries into smoothies, snack on them plain, or mix them all together for a flavorful and healthy fruit cup.
In spring radishes are at their best. They have a slightly sweet flavor and are crisp to the bite. In addition to providing you with about 30 percent of your daily vitamin C needs (in one cup), radishes help relieve bloating and eliminate toxins, according to Eastern healing practices. Always good raw, they are an excellent “chip substitute” with a healthy dip. They’re also tasty when sliced and sautéed—try them as a side dish or toss into your next meal.
Loaded with vitamins A, B-1 and B-16, plus C, what sets this vegetable apart in the nutrients race is its copious amount of vitamin K. That matters because K is important for bone health. Peas also have lots of plant protein. And it’s said that the ancient Egyptians valued them so much they buried them in their tombs. Besides that fun fact, you’ll feel very Jane Austen shelling your dinner peas. Who knew these teeny-tiny green peas could pack such a nutritious punch?
I'd be remiss if I didn't add on one last spring reminder: Take your exercise outside!
Research shows that running outside provides a better workout and uses up more calories. Having to maneuver through changing terrain (including downhill) demands more from your muscles while presenting a fun challenge. Cycling outside involves battling with wind drag and that means greater effort on your part, which in turn will also boost your calorie burn. A valuable extra: Exercising outdoors lets you get some soothing sunlight on your body (Just don't forget the sunscreen!).
No wonder research has found that exercising outdoors creates greater vitality, increases energy, and gives us more pleasure. Nourish your body this season, always, and in all ways. Take good care of you. Happy spring!