Eat The Seasons! Six Best Spring Superfoods

Spring brings amazing changes.  If you live in a cold-weather city, spring means the winter hibernation is over and tasting the sun for the first time in the new year.  But even if you live in a place like California, where it is perpetual summer, spring also brings new fruits and vegetables to the market shelves.  “Eating the seasons”, is always optimal because foods that are in season taste better, have more nutrients, and are better for the environment because the blueberries you crave aren’t being flown, trucked, and shipped thousands of miles to get to you.

So when you are at the farmers market or local grocery store, keep these springtime superfoods in mind.  It will help you keep variety in your diet, and expose you to the health benefits of different plant phytonutrients. Happy eating!

Asparagus:  Asparagus is  full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, especially quercetin, which is one of the most researched flavonoids in nutrition.  Its consumption is directly associated with decreasing cardiovascular risk and anti-carcinogenic properties. (And FYI, that funky smell in your urine is from the phytonutrient asparagusic acid).

Radish:  Radish is one of my favorite cruciferous vegetables, and its fitting that their prime season is springtime.  That is because radish have phytonutrients that block histamine and loosen phlegm in the sinuses and respiratory tract, which makes them excellent in combating seasonal allergies.

Morel mushrooms:  Mushrooms are truly amazing superfoods.  They possess incredible immune-enhancing properties, and also fight cancer by inhibiting angiogenesis.  Angiogenesis is the process whereby tumors create their own blood supply in order to get oxygen and nutrients.  If you block angiogenesis, the cancer shrivels and dies.  Mushrooms also inhibit the enzyme aromatase, which is critical in breast cancer treatment.

Fava Beans:  Hannibal Lecter isn’t alone in his love for fava beans.  These delicious and often forgotten veggies are full of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and folate (important for pregnant women).  And here is an interesting fact about fava beans: they contain levodopa, which is converted by the body into dopamine.  For this reason, fava beans have been studied as a natural way to relieve depression, as well as a complementary treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.

Collard Greens:  Another cruciferous vegetable, collard greens are one of the most nutrient dense foods around.  When collard greens and other cruciferous veggies are digested, they are broken down into ITCs (or isothiocyanates), which are compounds with powerful anti-cancer and antioxidant activity.  If you eat collard greens out of season, they can be a bit tough, so now is the time to add them to your grocery list.

Spinach:  Even though spinach is readily available all year round, spring is actually the prime growing season, and foods harvested in-season are more nutrient dense and better for you.  Spinach boasts an impressive phytonutrient profile (carotenoids, flavonoids, lutein) which makes it highly anti-inflammatory.  Spinach also has natural nitrates, which lowers blood pressure and improves heart function.

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