From artichokes to sunflower seeds, these superfoods will add fresh flavors, colors, aromas, and nutrients to your spring cuisine.
Spring is basically here, longer days with nicer weather and a plethora of in season produce. We all know the concept of spring cleaning, right? Well the same applies to the food choices you will select this season. It’s time to shift from eating heavy winter food options, to eating more in-season springtime fruits and veggies. Eating these foods encourages your body to burn it’s own stored fat as a source of energy, as well as, detoxify any toxins stored in winter fat.
Enjoy these 10 delicious spring superfoods!
Artichokes. The artichoke is a thistle-like plant native to the regions of southern Europe, North Africa and the Canary Islands. Artichokes have been around for a long time, and were used by the Romans to treat digestive issues. An ingredient in artichoke leaves help your liver form bile – something necessary for good digestion. If your liver doesn’t produce enough bile, your food doesn’t get broken down properly, and you end up with stomach pains and indigestion. They are also a good source of potassium and magnesium, both important for a healthy heart.
Apricots. The apricot is a great 50- calorie fruit – loaded with beta-carotene, iron, fiber, vitamin C, and several B vitamins. If you dry an apricot, its nutrients get more concentrated, making dried apricots a great snack. Whether fresh or dried, eating apricots will help you fight the effects of aging, protect your eyesight, ward off cancer, and prevent heart disease.
Blueberries. Not only are they delicious, but they are a superfood powerhouse! Blueberries are sweet, juicy and are packed with tons of antioxidants – one of the highest ranking (after pomegranates). Blueberries contain a specific antioxidant called anthocyanin that hunts down and destroy free radicals. Free radicals are molecules in your body that are created in your body whenever cells turn oxygen into energy. These molecules destroy healthy cells, and sets the stage for illness and inflammation.
Dandelion Greens. The common dandelion is edible and offers a wealth of nutritional and medicinal benefits. Fresh dandelion greens have a mild, pleasant, slightly bitter flavor and are available at many health food stores. These greens contain vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron (crucial for generating red blood cells), potassium (to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure), and manganese. Other nutrients present in dandelion greens include folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
Garlic. Garlic has been appreciated for thousands of years for its healing powers as well as its flavor. They contain flavonoids and sulfur compounds that may inhibit tumor growth and prevent cancer development. According to the ACJM, incorporating garlic into your daily eating may reduce your risk of cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, breast, stomach, and colon. Eating just one clove of garlic can aid in lowering blood sugar, protecting your body against bacteria, stabilizing blood sugar, strengthening your immune system, lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), and reducing risk of heart disease.
Ginger. Used for thousands of years, ginger possesses many health benefits. It has been used to aid in digestion, calm nausea, improve circulation, soothe headaches, provide pain relief and has been suggested in the prevention of heart disease. Ginger also possesses two powerful antioxidants gingerol and shogaols, which has been widely researched and proven to be effective as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. While most people tend to consume ginger in the fresh, ground/dried form, you can also consume it in capsules, extracts, candied ginger, and as crystallized ginger.
Lemon. Lemons have strong detoxing properties that help cleanse your body, aid in digestion, and promote waste elimination. This fruit contains a powerful antioxidant vitamin C that prevents oxidation in the cells caused by free radicals. This antioxidant may prevent more than one cancer such as: cancers of the bladder, breast, cervix, colon and rectum, esophagus, lung pancreas, and stomach As an added bonus, the peel contains another cancer-fighting antioxidant, monoterpenese. Be sure to grate the peel, or zest, and add it to your meal!
Salmon. First and foremost, always buy wild caught – never farm-raised. Salmon is a good source of omega-3, an essential fatty acid. You have to obtain it from food sources because the body does not produce them. Generally, fresh water fish, like salmon, is the suggested dietary from source. However you can get it via certain plant sources as well. There are two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids help in reducing blood clot formations, lowering blood pressure, increasing good cholesterol HDL and and reducing triglyceride levels (fat in the blood.)
Spinach. These tasty leaves are loaded with nutrients, including many antioxidants powerhouses. It’s rich in carotenoids, and is a good source or magnesium, manganese, folate, vitamins A,C,K and iron. Spinach possesses twice as much iron than any other leafy greens; a key component in red blood cells that fuels our muscles with oxygen for energy.
Sunflower Seeds. High in vitamin E, it’s a key vitamin for skin health. When combined with vitamin A, vitamin E is especially effective at preventing certain skin cancers. Because of vitamin E’s antioxidant properties, it helps to fight against collagen breakdown due to pollution, smoking, processed foods, and excessive sun exposures. Basically it helps to keep premature aging at bay.
I want to hear from you! Which spring superfoods do you plan to incorporate more of this season? Comment below, and let’s get a dialogue going.