The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. ~Harriet Ann Jacobs

Our bodies are programmed to adapt our diets with the change of seasons.  Each season offers unique foods to help our bodies thrive and flourish.  Spring’s warmer and wet weather causes seeds to germinate and sprout, creating an abundance of fresh produce to make up for the scarcity during the long, cold winter.  Many of the foods abundant in spring are light and low in fat.  This is Mother Nature’s way of helping us detoxify and shed accumulated fat from the long winter.

By eating the way Mother Nature intended, we will naturally lose weight in the spring.

So, what foods should you be eating in spring?  There are many.  Below is a list of 6 easy to find and prepare foods abundant in spring.  By eating seasonally, you will also save money.  In season foods not only taste better, they cost less too.

6 Foods to Eat This Spring

Artichokes

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After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual “food” out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. ~Miss Piggy

Artichokes can be intimidating, but once you’re brave enough to give them a try, you’ll never regret it.

Health Benefits of Artichokes

  • Luteolin is an antioxidant that prevents oxidation of LDL.
  • Folate prevents birth defects and helps nerves function properly.
  • Cholagoge stimulates bile and aids in fat digestion.
  • Fiber sweeps toxins and cholesterol from the digestive tract.
  • Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Magnesium keeps heart rhythm steady, enhances immunity, and supports strong bones.
  • Vitamin C protects cells from free radicals, supports collagen production, and helps the body absorb iron.
  • Vitamin K regulates normal blood clotting and improves the absorption of calcium.

How To Use Artichokes

  • Pull off tough outer petals
  • Slice of stem
  • Put in a saucepan, fill 1/3 way with water, cover, simmer 30-40 minutes.
  • Test doneness with the center petal.
  • Dip in melted butter, eat pulp from the end of the petal.
  • For recipes using artichoke hearts, you can use frozen or canned.  Looked for canned varieties without added ingredients or preservatives.

Asparagus

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It may make your pee smell odd, but this vegetable packs a lot of nutrition in it’s funny looking stalks.

Health Benefits of Asparagus

  • Vitamin A maintains the integrity of epithelial cells which line the surface of the skin, digestive tract and lining of the lungs.
  • Vitamin E reduces oxidative damage.
  • Vitamin K helps with blood clotting.
  • Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen.
  • Folate helps prevent birth defects and helps your body make dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, making it a feel-good veggie that supports your mood.
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B6, niacin, choline, and pantothenic acid help metabolize sugars and regulate homocysteine levels, making asparagus an excellent food for heart health.
  • Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that maintains the integrity of collagen, making your skin more beautiful.
  • Anti-inflammatory phytonutrients help to prevent chronic disease.
  • High in the nutrient inulin which supports a healthy digestive system.
  • Good source of fiber and protein which support healthy digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels.

So, what causes that strange smell?  Aspartic acid.  Many people lack the enzyme needed to break down aspartic acid, causing that strange oder in your urine.

Tips on Buying and Preparing Asparagus

  • Tips should be tightly packed.  If they are frayed, the asparagus is getting old.
  • The more slender the stalk, the less tough it will be.
  • Asparagus perishes quickly.  Wrap end of stalks in a wet paper towel before refrigerating.  Eat within 48 hours of purchasing to retain freshness.
  • Snap off the real tough ends by bending the stalk.  It will naturally break off at the tough, woody part.
  • Some asparagus have a purplish hue and are usually more tender and sweet.

Ways To Use Asparagus

  • Add to salads, soups, pastas, stir fry, and omelets.
  • Very lightly steam (to maintain crunch) and dip into your favorite veggie dip.
  • Wrap a piece of prosciutto around a firm stalk of asparagus and serve as an appetizer.

Apricots

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Most people are more familiar with dried apricots, but the fresh velvety version that resembles a mini peach is sweet, tart and delicious.

Health Benefits of Apricots

  • Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that supports vision, healthy skin, healthy mucous membranes and protects against lung and mouth cancers.
  • Zeaxanthin protects UV filtering functions and protects against macular degeneration.
  • Lycopene prevents LDL from being oxidized.
  • Potassium regulates heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Fiber supports a healthy digestive system.
  • Lutein helps to slow down the aging process.

Ways to Use Apricots

  • Just pop them in your mouth, avoiding the pit, of course.
  • Brush with honey and grill or broil.
  • Add chopped, dried apricots to oatmeal, cereal, cookies, trail mix or wild rice.
  • Dip in melted dark chocolate- my personal favorite.
  • Add chopped apricots to pancake batter.

Broccoli

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Researchers have discovered a gene that makes some people more sensitive to the bitter compounds in broccoli.  Perhaps George Bush, Senior was born with this gene.

Health Benefits of Broccoli

  • These mini trees have a pretty impressive nutritional profile.  Broccoli is high in fiber, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, folate, chromium, and antioxidants.
  • Although not a robust source, broccoli contains omega 3 fatty acids which are important anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Broccoli can help fight cancer, especially breast, colon, and cervical cancers.
  • Broccoli increases glutathione in the body which is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier.  It is also helpful in reducing allergy and asthma symptoms.
  • Another compound in broccoli, sulforaphane, is a known cancer fighter.  You can maximize the sulforaphane in broccoli by lightly steaming it.
  • Sulforaphane also helps to counteract sun damage on your skin.
  • Significant sources of lutein and zeaxanthin which are important for eye health.
  • Broccoli has a high combination of vitamins A and K, which are needed to keep vitamin D metabolism in balance.
  • Contains a flavonoid called kaempferol that is anti-inflammatory and can reduce the impact of allergens in the body.
  • Broccoli is high in fiber which is needed for healthy digestion.

Ways To Use Broccoli

  • Chop it up into small chunks and mix it into pasta dishes, salads, casseroles, rice, soups, omelets, veggie lasagna, pizza, and stir fry.
  • Dip lightly steamed or raw broccoli in your favorite veggie dip.
  • Add broccoli sprouts to sandwiches or salads.

Peas

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Peas are actually a legume, not a vegetable.  These little green legumes pack a powerful nutritional punch.  What is a legume?  A fleshy seed that grows in a pod.

Health Benefits of Peas

  • Peas supply fiber, folate, B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, protein, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
  • Peas can relieve cold symptoms.
  • Protection against cancer and heart disease.
  • Protection from cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • A source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Loaded with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • A strong source of protein and fiber which help to regulate digestion and blood sugar levels.

Ways To Use Peas

  • Simply pop early spring peas right into your mouth.  They are sweet, crispy and delicious.
  • Add snow peas to stir fry.
  • Add fresh or frozen peas to soups, salads, pastas, and casseroles.
  • Add frozen peas to a green smoothie.

Cabbage

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Cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables, dating back to the 1600s.  It’s no wonder it has been around so long.  It is low in calories and loaded with nutrition.  It is inexpensive, readily available and easy to prepare.

Health Benefits of Cabbage

  • Cabbage is high in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, folate, fiber, antioxidants, and sulforaphane.
  • Prevention of breast, lung and prostate cancers.
  • Prevention of cataracts.
  • Prevention of heart disease.
  • Prevention of birth defects.
  • Cabbage has a compound, I3C, which helps to remove harmful estrogens linked to breast cancer.
  • Cabbage is low in calories and high in fiber, making it an excellent food choice for weight loss.
  • Cabbage juice can help with detoxification and can help repair stomach and intestinal ulcers.
  • Fermenting cabbage into sauerkraut increases the bioavailability of the vitamins and minerals and increases its anti-cancer properties.

Ways To Use Cabbage

  • Add to soups, salads, pastas and stir fry.
  • Shred it and use in place of lettuce on sandwiches and tacos.
  • Ferment it into sauerkraut or kimchi.  You can find a recipe here.

By eating seasonal, fresh produce abundant in spring, we supply our bodies with nutrients needed to combat seasonal allergies and colds, aid in weight loss and detoxification, and prevent chronic diseases. If you want more information on eating seasonally, you will love The 3 Season Diet by Dr. John Douillard.  

Eating seasonally is one way to quickly improve your health.  But don’t stop there!  Join my Your Health Matters VIP Club for bi-monthly health and wellness tips to take your health to the next level.

 

We don’t need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables — the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers — to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences. ~Jane Elliot

4 Comments

  1. Marian Mitchell on May 30, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Love the recipes with each food. I definitely enjoy all of these, except I’m intimidated to try making my own artichokes! I don’t know why but I buy then then they go bad before I get brave enough to try to make them. It’s so weird.

  2. Lynne Wadsworth on May 31, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    This is a wonderful blog with all kinds of good information. I happen to love apricots and am so happy they are in season again. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Cathy Sykora on June 2, 2016 at 12:38 am

    You’ve tapped into such an important area-seasonal eating. Learning to eat this way will keep you in balance and be in harmony with your body. The health benefits of the six foods are amazing and will hopefully inspire more people to go out and try some new recipes. Well done!

  4. Cynthia Thurlow on June 2, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I really enjoyed your article…the content and photos! These are all favorites in our family as well…especially apricots since my kiddos find them so accessible and easy to eat 🙂

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