Spring Superfoods: Add the Healthiest Vegetables to Your Diet

April 1, 2013

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Spring SuperfoodsSpring has sprung (finally)! You fought off the winter blues and emerged from months of hibernation. The warmer weather may give you a little extra pep in your step, and with a new season, comes new delicious fruits and vegetables. Let the weather and fresh veggies inspire you in the kitchen. The fridge is calling these must-have spring superfoods!

Strawberries: Enjoy the peak of strawberry season April through June. Its red color hints at its heart-healthy benefits, which include increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.

And that’s not all this juicy fruit offers. Strawberries are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. Feel free to nosh on this low-calorie, low-fat fruit that fits perfectly with your weight loss plan.

Add it to your diet: Perfect as a post-dinner sweet treat or afternoon snack.

Artichokes: Freshest March through May, one medium artichoke contains about 20 to 25 percent of your daily recommended fiber, which has shown to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. It’s plentiful in nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, and potassium, but fewer than 65 calories.

Add it to your diet: Lighten up an artichoke dip using Greek yogurt or toss in salads or pastas to reap the nutritional benefits.

Peas: Peas are unique because they are an excellent source of plant protein, often used as a substitute for meat. But they are also part of the vegetable group because they are packed with fiber and nutrients like folate and potassium, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Plus, you’ll really be feeling spring fever. Peas are rich in vitamin B1, which may boost your mood and help ward off symptoms of depression. You can buy peas canned, frozen, or fresh year round, but this spring superfood is at its peak April through July.

Add it to your diet: The possibilities are endless! Peas are the perfect addition to any dinner. Try our split pea soup or salmon burger with snow peas.

Spinach: Spinach thrives in spring’s climate—warm days and cool nights. It’s rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, iron, and calcium. Is that all? Oh, one cup is only 40 calories. You may have wrinkled your nose at the nutritional green stuff as a kid, but it’s worth giving it another shot. Studies show spinach can improve cardiovascular health, help fight certain cancers, and boost brain power.

Add it to your diet: Spice up your lunch menu with our spinach and sun-dried tomato wrap or Monte Cristo with spinach salad.

Asparagus: You will find the freshest, most flavorful asparagus March through June. Step outside your comfort zone and reap the benefits of this high-fiber, low-fat vegetable. One serving of asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, antioxidants. Bonus: Asparagus contains more glutathione, which plays an important role in the prevention of certain cancers and diseases, than any other fruit or veggie, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Add it to your diet: Enjoy the delicious flavor of asparagus simply grilled or roasted with a hint of olive oil and sea salt. If you’re feeling creative, you can try our light and easy mushroom and asparagus pasta.

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