Spring is finally here, and with it comes some of the most delicious and nutritious produce of the year. Celebrate the start of the season by heading to your local farmer’s market and loading up on these fresh and delicious fruits and veggies, and start adding them to your meals, snacks, and desserts! Here are some of the best in-season items you should be buying:
Spring is prime time for asparagus. This awesome veggie boasts high levels of folic acid, which the body uses to create red blood cells and DNA. Folic acid is incredibly important during pregnancy, as it prevents neural tube defects of the baby. It’s also rich in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and bone health. It is also a natural diuretic, which means it can help flush excess water and sodium from the body. Try your asparagus roasted or grilled with garlic and lemon.
Peas are bursting with tons of nutritional benefits and are packed with fiber. A half cup of peas has more fiber than a cup of oatmeal! They are also one of the veggies highest in protein (those little guys pack 9 grams in a cup.) They’re also loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A and B vitamins. Try adding peas to pasta, to soups, or even on top of toast with fresh ricotta.
Avocado is one heart-healthy superfood. They are rich in monounsaturated fats, which raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad LDL cholesterol. They are a great source of oleic acid, which research shows helps to reduce inflammation. Avocados are also a surprisingly amazing source of potassium; they actually pack more than a banana! Try adding avocado to your toast, to salads, or make your own guacamole.
Radishes are popping up just in time for spring. Move over citrus and leave some room for these crunchy veggies, radishes are one of the foods highest in vitamin C. They’re hydrating, packed with fiber to aid in digestion, and a source of anthocyanins: a class of antioxidant known for helping to decrease inflammation. Try adding sliced radish to a spring salad for a refreshing crunch.
This citrus fruit is packed with vitamin C, which is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, the protein integral for skin and hair health. They are rich in vitamin A, which is key for eye health and immune health, and in vitamin B6, which helps support adrenal function and maintain a healthy nervous system. Eat them plain for a quick snack, or add them to Greek yogurt for a flavor-filled and protein-packed breakfast.
Fava beans are great sources of copper, which helps maintain the immune function of white blood cells. They also pack magnesium and manganese, which are crucial for maintaining the health of your bones. A serving of fava beans is also an awesome source of iron. Try adding them to pasta with sundried tomatoes and freshly shaved pecorino cheese.
This tart root is rich in vitamin K, which is integral to maintaining optimum brain health. It also contains polyphenolic compounds, antioxidants, and lutein, which promote heart health and neutralize free radicals that can cause cancer. Rhubarb is low in sugar, and is a great addition for sweet and tart desserts to cut down on sugar content. Try adding rhubarb to a fresh berry pie for a tart kick.
This slightly spicy, peppery green reaches peak season early spring. Arugula is actually a lesser known member of the cruciferous veggie family, which is known for its cancer-fighting properties. Arugula is also a great source of alpha-lipoic acid, which help increase insulin sensitivity. Arugula makes the perfect base for a salad, but it’s also delicious mixed into pasta or on top of a fresh pizza.
Author: Maggie Harriman