Spring Nutrition: What Foods You Should Be Including In Your Diet & Why
It’s important to get a wide variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet all year round. This is because the body needs specific nutrients to function at its best, and all that produce is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Eating seasonally is important because as soon as a fruit or vegetable is harvested, it begins losing its nutritional content. The longer it takes to get from harvest to table, the fewer nutrients it will have. Eating in season isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if you live in a four-season climate – but if you can eat seasonally, your body will thank you for it.
With the weather warming and spring well in season, read on for our spring nutrition guide to what foods you should be including in your diet now that winter is behind us.
What foods are in season for spring?
Depending on the climate you live in, the types of fruits and vegetables you can find locally and seasonally will differ. In most places, the same produce is in season at the same time. For example, foods such as arugula and artichokes can both be in season in spring regardless of where you are.
Some popular examples of spring vegetables include rhubarb, artichokes, and asparagus. But what spring vegetables are in season and offer the most nutritional bang for your buck?
Image by Oliver Hale on Unsplash: What fruit is good in spring? Strawberries, of course!
What foods should you be including your diet in spring?
Eating any type of fresh produce is good for you, because most types have at least some form of nutrient that the body needs. That doesn’t mean that they’re all created equal, though. Some stand out from the crowd, and this spring, you’ll want to incorporate some of the best into your diet so that you can reap the rewards of eating healthily throughout the season.
Avocados have had their time in the spotlight for a while now, and for good reason. The unique fruit has a creamy texture and can be used in many dishes. It has a high nutrient content of vitamins K, B6, E, B5, C as well as folate and potassium. It also has small amounts of vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, and magnesium. Finally, it’s a great source of heart-healthy fatty acids.
Because of all those nutrients, avocado can help with many bodily processes. Perhaps the most important health benefit of avocado is that it can help the body absorb nutrients better.
Many people eat strawberries because of how delicious and sweet they are. That scrumptious taste doesn’t take away from how healthy they are, though; eating strawberries gives your body a high amount of vitamin C, B9, as well as manganese, potassium and antioxidants.
Studies have shown that the regular consumption of strawberries can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, as well as improve heart health, manage blood sugar, and prevent cancer.
Asparagus can be found all year round, but the vegetable is actually at its best during a spring harvest. You can eat asparagus raw; however, it’s better to cook it because it has such a rough texture. When you eat asparagus, you give your body a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K as well folate, fiber, and a powerful antioxidant known as glutathione. (According to research, asparagus is actually the tenth healthiest vegetable in the world!)
Beets may not be everyone’s favorite food, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are loaded with nutrients. They are a great source of manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin C, folate, and fiber. All of those account for many health benefits, including the improvement of blood flow, lowered blood pressure, and increased stamina during exercise.
Kale was once hailed a superfood, and although superfoods don’t technically exist, it is still high on the list for healthy vegetables you should be eating. Kale is loaded with plant compounds known as phytonutrients, which act as antioxidants that help lower inflammation.
The phytonutrients in kale can also play a role in immune and eye health. According to research, eating foods such as kale that have the carotenoid lutein can help lower the risk of developing macular denegation. Kale is actually of the highest sources of this carotenoid.
Image by Heather Gill on Unsplash: Leeks are great source of plant compounds that benefit your health.
Leeks are sort of like onions, but their flavor is sweeter and milder. Although they may not seem like anything special, they are full of nutrients such as vitamins K1, B6, A, C, folate, and carotenoids. They are also a good source of manganese and iron.
The plant compounds that are found in leeks are great for health because they act as antioxidants. The body needs antioxidants to help keep down inflammation caused by oxidative stress. When inflammation levels are low, the risk of developing chronic disease is also lowered. Leeks are specifically high in the antioxidant kaempferol, which has been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer.
Artichokes may look funny, but their nutritional content is no joke! This powerhouse vegetable houses high amounts of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and magnesium. Studies have shown that artichokes are able to lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, improve the health of the liver, and decrease the risk of developing cancer.
It can be hard to add in new foods to your already established diet, but overlooking spring’s best and most nutritional vegetables would be a mistake if you want to be your healthiest you. By eating these vegetables seasonally, you can get as much of their nutrient content as possible into your system.
Featured image by Kim Daniels on Unsplash
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