Daylight lasts longer and things are warming up. Spring makes you feel a little bit happier, just because… Now you can put all that heavy, comfort food aside and start fresh with healthy superfoods for your spring healthy diet.
We’ve rounded up the top 10 superfoods for spring to help you welcome the season and wake up your appetite for something light, refreshing and full of flavor (and energy-boosting nutrients). Get your grocery list ready…
Top 10 superfoods for spring
1 Asparagus! Those sweet and juicy spears are the first signs of spring – and the perfect start to spring healthy eating. They’re an excellent source of those B-complex vitamins needed for energy production (that spring in your step) and helping maintain the nervous system. They also give us vitamin K. We don’t hear a lot about vitamin K, but it’s key for building strong bones. Some research, too, suggests that a lack of vitamin K could be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Tip: Choose ones with tight, green tips and stalks that are moist. You don’t want the woody, bended stalks that are past due. Also note, eat this superfood soon after purchase because it tends to deteriorate faster than other vegetables. Quick recipe to try?
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop or snap the ends off a bunch of fresh asparagus and blanch for two or three minutes in boiling water. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes – they’re ready when the spears are tender and turn a little golden. Heaven!
2 Spinach: You have to love this refreshing leafy green! It tops nutritional charts for iron,
so good to get more of, especially if you don’t eat meat. Our red blood cells need iron to fuel our muscles with oxygen for energy. Popeye knows all about it. Choose a fresh bunch instead of the pre-washed and bagged variety. It tastes so much fresher and lasts longer, too.
Spring Spinach Salad
Wash and trim a fresh bunch of spinach leaves. Finely slice a small red onion and toss with some capers, fresh lemon juice and a little olive oil with a dash of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. It’s also great with some crumbled feta or shavings of fresh Parmesan.
3 Spring garlic: Garlic is one of those healing superfoods that your body loves (mind your breath, though). It’s great for circulation, healthy cholesterol and your brainpower, thanks to its compounds thought to help keep neurons strong and high-functioning. Spring garlic has a sweeter, milder taste than the white bulbs available later in the season. Try it diced on salad or as a tasty topping for your sandwich.
4 Artichokes: Get past the spiky tips and you’ll find this spring superfood delicious and a great addition to your spring healthy diet. Depending on their size, artichokes contain 6 to 10 g of fiber. Plus, they come with some key nutrients, including magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamins K and C.
Don’t shy away from this tasty superfood! If there are tiny thorns on the ends of the leaves, use kitchen scissors to cut them off; then cut away about three-quarters of an inch from the artichoke tip along with any excess stem. Rinse it well and you’re ready to cook. One of the best ways to preserve vegetable nutrients is steaming, so here’s a simple recipe to try.
Get out a large pot and fill it with a few inches of water. Add a bit of fresh lemon juice and some minced garlic. Put your steaming basket in the water and put the artichoke in the basket. Now cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about half an hour – until you can easily remove the leaves.
5 Eggs: Get eggs on your superfood list to stay. Don’t just eat egg-white omelets; go for the yolk and all. The yolks are one of the most nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich foods known to man. So you’re getting all kinds of good things with eggs, including a slim, trim figure for bathing suit season coming up. In clinical trials, published in the journal Metabolism in 2013, participants ate up to three eggs a day while on a healthy weight loss program. They lost weight, decreased inflammation and maintained or improved their blood cholesterol levels.
Unless you have diabetes or a rare genetic disorder, eating a few eggs every day – scrambled, sunny-side up or otherwise – is not bad for you at all. Expert opinion on dietary cholesterol, too, recently has changed. Research has shown that the cholesterol you eat has little impact on how much cholesterol you have in your blood. Not that we’re suggesting a cheeseburger is paradise after all (and go eat at will)!
6 Salmon: Warmer weather means barbecue season is straight ahead. Instead of thinking steak and ribs, consider grilling salmon, wild-caught preferably. Salmon is a much healthier alternative to red meat (not that we don’t enjoy steak on occasion, too). It’s one of the top healthy superfoods going because it is such an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, which are considered nature’s heart medicines. And it’s high in protein, of which you want to make sure you’re getting enough. Plus, it’s so quick and easy to prepare! We like ours with a teriyaki marinade.
Grilled Salmon with Teriyaki
Combine two salmon fillets with about five tablespoons of teriyaki sauce (look for the low-sodium kind) in a zip-top plastic bag. Marinate for about 30 minutes. Prepare your grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grill grate. Place your fillets on the preheated grill and cook for six to eight minutes per side, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Delicious!
7 Walnuts: Walnuts give you healthy fats and a lasting energy boost (a far better choice than a chocolate bar). Another important perk of eating a handful a day is lifting your mood. That’s because they are packed with tryptophan, an amino acid your body needs to create the feel-good chemical serotonin. The body can’t make it, so tryptophan has to come from your diet in foods like nuts, seeds, tofu, beans, cheese, chicken and turkey.
Bonus: Walnuts are digested slowly, helping to promote mood stability and your ability to tolerate stress.
8 Avocados: Another amazing source of healthy fat, avocados are touted as one of the perfect foods for its nutrient-rich content. And they’re creamy and perfect for dips and spreads in place of heavy mayo.
Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) as well as potassium – all of which help neutralize free radicals that can damage our cells.
9 Blueberries: When it comes to healthy superfoods, blueberries can’t be ignored! While you can’t pick your own until summer, start eating these beauties right now. Rinse and pop into your mouth, or add to smoothies, salads and more…
These popular berries are known for their high antioxidant content. They are also rich in vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, and copper. They’ve been linked to brain health and memory function, too.
Why? Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties to fight those free radicals. It also contains several natural stimulants, including caffeine, which enhance focus. Caffeine works to stimulate the production of endorphins, improving your mood and helping you enjoy spring’s warmer weather even more. It gets better: Chocolate has flavonoids found in the form of epicatechin which improves brain function.
Eat better, feel better, think better – you can’t go wrong with our top 10 superfoods for spring. When it comes to the best healthy eating tips for spring, choose these whole foods and spend time experimenting in the kitchen. They’re fresh and loaded with flavor!
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