Healthy Spring Foods & How to Use Them

Healthy Spring Foods & How to Use Them

Spring is here! The days are longer, the air is getting fresher, and everyone seems to be in a better mood.

In nature, this means abundant growth in the form of grass, flowers, and delicious colorful produce. For our bodies, it means leaving the heaviness of grounding foods behind and embracing all things light and fresh.

We are inherently attuned to the environment and are meant to eat the foods that grow around us. In the spring, these foods include a wide array of fruits and veggies that will make you feel nourished while also gently cleansing and resetting your digestive and immune systems.

During this time of renewal, allow fresh healthy spring foods to crowd out unhealthy food & unhealthy habits.

Don’t even worry about avoiding or eliminating anything in your diet during this transitional time, because eating more of the fresh foods you’ll find at your local market will gradually crowd out any lingering rich or heavy foods.

To help you embrace the spring, use spring foods around you to make delicious meals. Most of these require minimal cooking so they’re also great for those of you who are busy and don’t have much time for meal prep. What’s in season for you will depend on where you live, and you may already have access to some of these foods year-round due to importing, but eating the local seasonal variety will taste and smell much better. Their level of freshness and bioactive compounds will also benefit your body in a much deeper way.

Enjoy these 10 delicious spring foods!

1. Arugula

(And other leafy greens like Romaine and Red Leaf Lettuce)

Arugula is rich in vitamins like A, K, and folate, plus chlorophyll, fiber, and water. This leafy green will help reduce inflammation while also hydrating and detoxifying your body.

How to eat it: Just toss raw greens in a bowl with other veggies, nuts, or seeds and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar or citrus juice on it. Chop or tear them into bite-sized pieces to enhance the texture of your salad.

2. Artichokes

These are available in both spring and fall, and they’re rich in folic acid, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and many minerals. These nutrients help lower cholesterol, ensure healthy pregnancies in women, reduce free radicals, and ensure optimal metabolic cell function.

How to eat them: There is an art and science to the basic way of cooking an artichoke. You can cook an artichoke for 20 minutes and then peel off and eat the leaves after being dipped in garlic infused extra virgin olive oil.

3. Asparagus

Asparagus is even more abundant in vitamin K (which you need for blood clotting, heart and bone health, cancer prevention, and many other functions), as well as copper, selenium, B vitamins, and many other important nutrients. It can improve your overall health.

How to eat it: Asparagus is delicious when sautéed with a garlic and sea salt in butter, ghee, coconut oil, or even a little vegetable or chicken stock. Make sure you don’t overcook the asparagus though! You want it to remain vibrant green and retain its shape as it softens. Make sure to not cook it too long because it will get wilted that way. Cooking asparagus for about 10 minutes is all it should take!

4. Beets

Some foods give you a clear indication of what part of you they’ll benefit and that’s the case with beets. Their deep and juicy color let you know they’re great for your blood and circulation. They can lower blood pressure, boost your stamina, and support detoxification because they’re a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains.

How to eat them: There are so many ways to eat beets! You can juice them or add them to a smoothie, roast them as a side dish, use a julienne veggie peeler to shave them into salads, spiralize them, or make them into borscht!

5. Carrots

Carrots are rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants. They’re also great for maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails, which is why they’re considered an “anti-aging” food. They’re also a powerful cancer fighter!

How to eat them: There are many ways to eat carrots – whether they’re on salads, sandwiches, tacos, or other foods. You can also spiralize them as an alternative to zucchini to make healthy “pasta.” They’re also the perfect travel snack and are great dipped into nut butter.

6. Mint

This powerful herb grows like a weed and sometimes doesn’t get enough credit for it’s powerful healing properties. Mint contains an antioxidant called rosmarinic acid, which can relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. The menthol in mints is a natural decongestant, and it can also soothe an upset stomach.

How to eat it: Mint is a delicate herb so it’s better not to cook it. Adding it to water or iced tea is great for a refreshing natural flavoring, and it can also be chopped and added to fruit salads.

7. Peas

Peas generally have a very short growing season of just a few weeks, and this makes them very special. They contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and K, several B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, and protein. This makes them an excellent anti-inflammatory food.

How to eat them: You can eat sugar snap peas straight out of the pod for a light snack, or you can add them to salads, smoothies, stir-fries, noodle dishes, and basically anything else! Fresh peas make a great snack for kids, and they can also be cooked and pureed into baby food.

8. Strawberries

Strawberries are among the top five sources of antioxidant-rich fruit in the U.S. Despite being a fruit and containing fructose, strawberries can actually help balance blood sugar, and the polyphenols they contain support immunity, healthy cell renewal, and many other functions.

How to eat them: Aside from eating them raw, you can freeze them (just cut the stems off before freezing) for smoothies, put them on your chia pudding or oatmeal, or make a quick jam by chopping them up and simmering in a bit of water with a cinnamon stick and then adding some vanilla extract and maple syrup at the end.

9. Spring Onions

Onions contain a high amount of polyphenols, especially flavonoids, and they are the compounds that play a major role in disease prevention and reducing the oxidative stress that wears our bodies down when we don’t take good care of ourselves. They are also natural antihistamines and have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

How to eat them: You can add raw onions to things like salads and tacos, or you can simply sauté them with some sea salt as a tasty caramelized onion side dish. They also make the perfect base for your spring sauces and soups.

10. Radishes

Radishes are a great detoxifier because they remove waste and toxins from both the stomach and liver. They are also a natural diuretic and help treat urinary and kidney conditions, fight cancer, hydrate your skin, reduce fevers, and treat insect bites.

How to eat them: You can slice them and put them in a raw salad, add them to a quinoa salad, or even juice them.

Most foods growing in your area are going to be beneficial for your body; it just depends on your location, temperature, and the time of year. This is why you should head over to your local farmer’s market when it starts and enjoy all the goodness nature has to offer.

Source: ElizabethRider.com

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