By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist
When I think of Spring I think of energy! Spring time is full of sunshine, hope, renewal and eagerness for the warmer, longer days ahead. Spring is also a time when fresh, local produce starts to bloom.
My top 8 energizing foods this spring are vibrant and packed with nutrients.
Arugula is a green leafy lettuce that is actually part of the cruciferous veggie family (think kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, radish). Arugula has a delicious peppery bite thanks to its incredible health promoting phytonutrients that help support our liver with natural detoxification.
Try this recipe: Fresh & Sweet Green Salad with Tangy Dressing
Parsley has a long history of use as a breath freshener and is a prominent feature in Mediterranean diets. The Mediterranean diet and lifestyle is associated with a lower risk for developing heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers. Parsley contains numerous phytonutrients and vitamins such as folic acid, which is important for healthy red blood cells and a lower risk of certain cancers. Parsley is a great addition to your favorite green juice. It is flavorful, vibrant and a very cost effective veggie. Save your leftover parsley pulp for making a yummy broth or as a topping for any green salad.
Try these recipes: Dark and Stormy Juice or Noodle-Free Alfredo Zucchini Pasta
Asparagus is a good source of folate which is vitally important for fetal development. Folate has also been shown to potentially prevent cognitive decline, bestowing it with anti-aging properties! Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, which neutralize cell-damaging free radicals – another reason why it’s a great anti-aging food. A very good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, asparagus also contains as chromium, a trace mineral that assists insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
Try these recipes: Mellow Asparagus Hummus or Vegetable Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Spinach is another vibrant, green spring treat. Best known for it’s plant-based iron content, spinach is also an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. Popeye’s favorite veggie is also a good source of calcium, potassium, and choline. To best absorb the iron from spinach eat it with another Vitamin C-rich food like bell peppers, kiwi fruit or strawberries. Try these recipes: Spring Lentil Vegetable Stew or Spring Clean Green Smoothie
5.) Garlic Scapes
Garlic Scapes are like the long green, tough “flower stalks” of the garlic plant. They have an aromatic oniony smell and are loaded with potent nutrients like fiber, vitamin C and phytonutrients allium and glutathione a potent antioxidant plus sulfur compounds all with cancer preventive properties.
Try this recipe: Perfect Summer Salad
Scallions are a member of the onion family and to me smell like spring! I grew up with wild scallions growing in our yard and the smell brings me back to fun days of playing outside and helping my mom in the garden. Scallions are a very good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese.
Try this recipe: Spring into Action Salad
7.) Sugar Snap Peas (Snow Peas)
Sugar snap peas are a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, folate, iron and manganese.
Try this recipe: Steamed Snow Peas, Broccoli and green beans with ginger honey soy dressing.