Spring is the season when everything is in bloom, the sun is shining, the weather is warm, the days are getting longer, and it is also the time when some of the healthiest vegetables are being harvested. Springtime is a great time for eating healthy, since there are so many fresh vegetables everywhere. So if you’re ready to take a fresh start on how you eat, below is a list of some of the healthiest veggies that springtime has to offer.
It’s not only delicious and divine; it’s great for your health. Asparagus is an excellent source of folate. Folate is helpful in preventing birth defects and sustaining heart health. Though it is in many foods, folate deficiency is extremely common. Eating a single cup of asparagus constitutes 67% of your daily-recommended value of folate.
Spinach is both versatile and packed with good stuff. There are all sorts of ways you can prepare spinach. You can eat spinach in a salad or steam it and season it however you like, or throw it in with your favorite stir-fry. Replacing the traditional lettuce in your salad with spinach will give you an extra boost of vitamins. Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. For maximum nutritional benefits, spinach is best eaten fresh and raw.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, eating apricots can be a good way to go to satiate it in a healthy way. Apricots are incredibly high in carotenoids, which are a phytonutrient that offers a large supply of anti-oxidants. Additionally, apricots contain lycopene and beta-carotene, which help reduce arterial plaque build up and keep your heart healthy.
Peas are another exciting veggie that comes out in the spring that offers great health benefits. Peas are a great source for getting vitamins A and C. You can eat either kind, sugar snap peas, or traditional English peas to derive these benefits. They can be lightly steamed (but try not to overcook them, or you might remove all the nutrients) or added to a stir-fry. Sugar snap peas are even delicious when eaten totally raw.
When it comes to making spring salads, all lettuces are not created equal. Romaine lettuce is known to contain vitamin C and beta-carotene, which make an excellent heart-healthy combination. Additionally romaine lettuce is one of the few vegetables known to contain a significant amount of chromium, which is a mineral that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Definitely a lesser-known and less popular member of the vegetable club, fennel is like celery stalk in appearance and has a licorice-like taste. Cut the bulbs in half and either roast, grill or steam it, your choice. As for health benefits, fennel has vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
This delicious member of the bean family is one of the few varieties that can be eaten uncooked. Green beans have a good supply of vitamin A and vitamin C, which together make for a healthy immune system. Along with beta-carotene, this veggie has got all areas of your body covered for eliminating free radicals.
A long-time big favorite in the south, collard greens are making their way slowly into dishes in the rest of the country. Like broccoli, collard greens belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables, which have been shown to have significant health benefits due to the sulfur compounds they contain. These sulfur compounds are believed to decreased the risk of various types of cancer. In addition to fighting cancer, collard greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help combat age-related macular degeneration.
Popular for its strong flavor in Italian dishes and pasta sauces, as well as a simple addition to most salads, basil is a big favorite. Basil contains vitamin A, and a unique variety of flavonoids that help protect your body’s cell structures and chromosomes from possible radiation and oxygen-based damage.
Swiss chard is hands down one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. It has a high content of both vitamin A and vitamin E, which are both highly effective anti-oxidants, along with many other vitamins, fibers, and minerals. It is also a premium source of flavonoids like anthocyanins and carotenoids like beta-carotene, which offer protection from the dangers of free radicals to many cell structures including DNA.
An oldie but a goodie, carrots are an excellent vegetable to include in your diet. They offer fiber and vitamins A and C, and can be eaten raw or cooked.