Top 10 healthy spring foods and how to eat them

Health

Top 10 healthy spring foods and how to eat them

05/29/18

It’s springtime! The days get longer, the air seems warmer and everyone is in a good mood. The change of season highlights the renewal.

In nature, it means abundant growth of plants, flowers, and delicious colourful spring fruits and vegetables. And for our body means leaving behind the heaviness of rooted foods and embracing everything light and fresh.

We are by nature in harmony with the environment and we are destined to eat the food that grows around us. In spring these foods make up a long list of vegetables and fruits that will make us feel nourished (due to their high nutrient content), as well as help us clean and reset our digestive and immune system.

In the course of this renewal period, we allow new spring products to eliminate unhealthy eating habits.

Do not even worry about avoiding or excluding anything in your diet during this transition process, just eat more fresh foods. You will find at the market a great variety of products that will make you forget progressively the foods too rich and too heavy consumed in winter.

To help you adapt to this season, I have collected my favourite spring foods and I am going to tell you how to eat them. Most of them require a minimum of cooking so they will be good for those who are busy and do not have much time for cooking.

Maybe you’ve already had access to some of these food because of import but trust me if I tell you that eating local and in season products will make you feel much better. Their level of freshness and bioactive components will be really beneficial for your body.

Enjoy these 10 delicious spring foods!

The Rocket

(and other green leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce and red curly leaf)
Rich in vitamins A and K, in folic acid, chlorophyll, fibre and even in water, these leafy vegetables will help reduce inflammation by hydrating and detoxifying your body.

How to eat it: put the arugula leaves in a bowl with other vegetables, nuts or seeds and sprinkle them with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or citrus juice. Chop or cut into pieces to enhance the texture of the salad.

The artichokes

Available in spring and autumn, artichokes are rich in folic acid, vitamin C, B and minerals. These nutrients help lower cholesterol, ensure healthy pregnancies in women, reduce free radicals and ensure optimal metabolic cell function.

How to eat it: there are several ways, but I steam it for 40 minutes, I separate the leaves to eat them (I use the teeth to scratch the edible part of bottom of the leaf) after dipping them in a vinaigrette based on olive oil and of extra virgin rapeseed to which I add shallots and garlic.

Green asparagus

Even richer in vitamin K (necessary for blood, heart and back coagulation, prevention of cancer and other functions), as well as copper, selenium, vitamin B and other important nutrients. Asparagus can improve your overall health.

How to eat them: asparagus are delicious simply sautéed with garlic and salt in a little olive oil or ghee, or coconut oil, or even with some vegetables or chicken. Make sure you do not cook them too much! My method: I first boil them for about six minutes, then I remove them and put them in cold water so that they keep their green colour and their shape.

The beets

Some foods provide a clear indication of what part of the body they benefit from and this is the case with beets. Its dark and juicy colour makes you see that they are perfect for blood and circulation. They help lower blood pressure, boost your stamina, and support detoxification by being a unique source of phytonutrients called betaines.

I eat them raw, cooked or in juice.

How to eat them: there are a variety of options! You can have them in juice or add them to a smoothie, roast them as a side dish to potatoes or pumpkin adding spices, raw by cutting in julienne or with the mandolin to add them to salads.

Carrots

We are familiar with this classic vegetable but when it is the season they are absolutely delicious. Rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants, they are perfect to keep our hair, skin and nails healthy, and are considered as an “anti-aging” food. In addition, they are a powerful cancer fighter.

How to eat them: I like to eat them raw mainly because you can play with different ways of cutting, slicing, grating on salads, sandwiches, wraps or other spring rolls. You can also spiral them as an alternative to zucchini to make healthy “spaghetti”. They are also the perfect “travel snack”.

Mint

This plant grows like a weed and is not highlighted enough for its powerful healing properties. Mint contains an antioxidant called rosmarinic acid, which can relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies (the not-so-good side effect of spring). The menthol it contains is a natural decongestant and it can relieve aches stomach and contribute to good digestion.

How to eat it: mint is a delicate plant and it is preferable not to cook it. I like to add it to water or juice. It is also perfect in garnish and you can cut and add it to fruit salads (yummy with strawberries) or smoothies.

Peas

Peas have a very short growth season of only a few weeks which makes them special. They contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, K and B, as well as manganese, phosphorus and proteins. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory food.

How to eat them: you can eat them raw for a snack or appetizer, add them to salads, sautéed with noodles (wheat, rice or buckwheat) or boil them for 9 minutes. I particularly like to add them to a spring risotto.

Strawberries

There is nothing better than biting a strawberry (gariguette, wild …) fresh, ripe and delicious in spring. The strawberry is one of the top five sources of antioxidant-rich fruit. Despite being a fruit and containing fructose, strawberries can actually help the balance blood sugar; and polyphenols contribute to the immune system, the renewal of cells and many other functions.

How to eat them: Aside from eating raw (with mint or basil), you can freeze them (just cut the stem before) and add them to the smoothies or mix them with black chocolate melted in a bain-marie. You can also put them on your favourite Chia Pudding.

Spring onions

Onions contain a large number of polyphenols, and in particular flavonoids, which are compounds that play an important role in the prevention of diseases and reduce the oxidative stress that pulls our body down when we are not taking care of ourselves. They are also natural antihistamines and have antibacterial and antifungal benefits.

How to eat them: you can add them to your salads with a little salt as a side dish. They make also the ideal base for sauces and spring soups.

The radishes

Great detoxifiers, radishes are perfect to eliminate waste and toxins from the stomach and liver, particularly the black radish. They are also a natural diuretic and help treat urinary and kidney problems, fight cancer, hydrate the skin, reduce fever, and even treat insect bites.

How to eat them: I like sliced with the mandolin for a raw salad or you can also add it to a quinoa salad or even juices.

Everything that grows in your region will be beneficial, it depends on where you live. Keep in mind that for good health it is important to eat local and seasonal foods. So, go to the market during these months and enjoy all the good that nature offers.

Happy spring!

Gwénaëlle Fradj

Naturopath of The Green Shelters’ team of experts

www.takeitslow.fr