Spring…what an exciting time of the year! It’s the beginning of new creations. You may now notice the produce section in the grocery stores full of fresh spring vegetables. How do you utilize all these delicious, fresh springtime fruits and veggies you ask? Let’s see what Sara Axford, RDN from Mountainside Fitness and Core Concepts has to say about eating seasonally. Take it away Sara!
One of my absolute favorite spring vegetables is the artichoke, a large thistle that has been found to improve liver function and digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome. It is also known to improve cholesterol levels by increasing HDL (good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol). Artichokes are packed with antioxidants and rank number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list, and contain about one fourth of the average adult’s daily fiber recommendation. If artichokes aren’t popular in your home, go ahead and start today to indulge in all of the excellent health benefits that they offer.
Blueberries are at the top of the list for anti-arthritis fruits. They are loaded with 20 types of anthocyanins (groups of potent antioxidants called flavonoids that give blueberries their blue-violet color). With natural pain relieving and joint-healing components, they can help reduce arthritis related inflammation. These antioxidants have also been shown to increase signals among brain cells, enhancing learning and memory. Go ahead and pile blueberries on top of low-fat Greek yogurt, or steel cut oats for a fresh taste and great health benefits.
Asparagus is a great spring vegetable that contains a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K, some of which are antioxidants that battle free radicals in the body. Asparagus also contains B vitamin folate, which is important in synthesizing the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. In purchasing the freshest asparagus look for thickness, bunches with tightly closed tips, and no flowering (bright green and firm for green asparagus, or pale ivory for white asparagus). Lightly sauté in olive oil and garlic, grill or roast for a fresh and healthy taste. I would love to share one of my favorite asparagus recipes with you.
Asparagus with Lemon:
2 bunches of asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Toss asparagus, lemon slices, oil, oregano, salt and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally to toss until the asparagus is tender-crisp, 13 to 15 minutes.