It’s no secret that eating foods with vitamins and minerals can improve your overall health. By choosing superfoods, you can ensure that your cuisine packs a palpable punch of powerful nutrients.
What qualities transform food into something that should be considered “super”? According to Merriam-Webster, a superfood is defined as “a food that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person's health.” These nutrient dense food items are super concentrated to help boost your immune system and prevent diseases. By adding superfoods into your diet, you can feel satisfied knowing that the fruit and vegetables you’re eating may benefit your overall health.
Choosing produce that is in-season allows you to enjoy a richer flavor, better nutrition, and save some money. In addition to having a more enjoyable experience, buying produce from your local farmers market benefits the community and is more environmentally friendly. With all of the personal and local advantages to incorporating seasonal superfoods into your diet, it only makes sense for us to create a detailed list of our favorites.
Just in time to make its debut at the Easter dessert table is this unique vegetable. Rhubarb’s tart flavor startles the senses; that’s why it is most commonly used in pie filling. Please remember that the stalks are the only edible portion of the plant. If you’re brave enough to try this tangy member of the buckwheat family, you’ll be rewarded with potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, protein, carbs, and vitamins B2/A/C. However, the most significant aspect of rhubarb is the vast amount of vitamin K which promotes brain health.₁
Nothing says sophistication at the dinner table like a side of decadent asparagus. Spring is the perfect time to pick up some since it’s harvested from March through June. Keep in mind that towards the end of harvesting season you’ll find plumper spears which will be more tender and sweeter. Besides appearing to be cultured, eating asparagus benefits the consumer with folic acid, fiber, potassium, and vitamins A/B1/B3/B6/C. The antioxidants in asparagus also help to prevent cell damage.₂
There are two main types of cherries: tart and sweet. Tart cherries are commonly used as pie filling or juice concentrate. On the other hand, sweet cherries are best eaten fresh. Both are rich in polyphenols which aid in protection against oxidative stress; however, the distinction between these two kinds of cherries goes even further with their dedicated health benefits. Tart cherries are an anti-inflammatory and its melatonin level may assist in improving your sleep. Sweet cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins.₃ The physical properties of cherries culminate into a powerful antioxidant.
Sometimes your palate needs a unique flavor to awaken your senses. Eating mangos is a great way to feel like you’re in the tropics, even though it might be an overcast atmosphere at your abode. The peak season for honey mangos is mid-March to mid-July. This variety will be yellow and have a hooked top, but most importantly it’s sweet and doesn’t have a fibrous texture. Mangos are rich in fiber which can help soothe an upset stomach. Other nutritional benefits include vitamins B6/A/C/E/K, potassium, copper, quercetin, folate, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.₄ The riboflavin (also known as vitamin B2) found in mangos promote cellular function and metabolism.
Infographic Credit - Organic Facts
Although chard is comparable to spinach, it actually has a milder flavor than its counterpart and is in the same family as beets. Another benefit to choosing chard over spinach is almost twice the amount of vitamin K.₅ Chard also contains iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A/C/E/B. These vitamins and minerals work cooperatively to deliver antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
6. New Potatoes
Merriam-Webster defines new potatoes as “a small moist tender thin-skinned potato harvested early in the growing season.” This definition doesn’t apply to a specific variety rather its freshness. When choosing new potatoes, the skin should be soft enough to scrape clean with your thumb. Keep in mind that since new potatoes don’t have a tough exterior they’ll perish faster than mature potatoes. If you’re able to forgo the unhealthy toppings or preparation methods, you might be compensated with lower blood pressure and improved cell function. New potatoes nutritional value consists of potassium, phosphorus, niacin, fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamins B6/C, and phytonutrients.₆ You’ll receive the most health benefits by eating the whole potato, so keep the skin intact while preparing.
When you’re in the mood to eat fruit but don’t want something overly sweet, an apricot might be just the solution with its particular blend of sweet and tart. Apricots also have a significant amount of vitamins and minerals including: niacin, copper, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, fiber, and vitamins A/C/E/K. The variety of essential nutrients found in apricots may aid in digestion, strengthen bones, boost metabolism, promote eye & heart health, improve quality of blood, and treat anemia/ear pain/asthma/fever/skin conditions.₇
Also known as a green onion, scallions are sweeter and milder than regular cooking onions. There’s no need to cry with this super vegetable because it’s packed with body-boosting benefits. Scallions’ composition of potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, fiber, and vitamins A/C/K/B supplies the body with a powerful dose of essential vitamins and minerals. They can also be used to treat colds, influenza, abdominal pain, headache, and/or heart disease.₈
Strawberries are jam packed with antioxidants that improve the function of nearly every part of the body. Vitamin C plays the most significant role in strawberries with 149% of your daily requirement working to boost your immune system. Other nutritional benefits include fiber, vitamins E/B6/K, folate, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. The antioxidants found in strawberries may help improve heart function; furthermore, the potassium content has been said to improve brain function. From there, nutritional benefits may include anti-aging, reduced blood pressure, relief from arthritis/gout, weight loss, reduced inflammation, or improved hair/bone health.₉ There are so many benefits to eating strawberries which is great because they’re the most popular fruit in the country.
Even though radishes are an under appreciated vegetable, don’t let that keep you from including them into your diet. With their peculiar blend of spice and zest, radishes will awaken your taste buds. Radishes appear in various colors and sizes; however, the round variety is the most popular. Nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and vitamins C/B/A/K collaborate to provide an amazing amount of health benefits. Possibly the whole body will be positively impacted with side effects including: relief from jaundice, boosted immune system, aid in digestion, weight loss, improved cardiovascular system, lower blood pressure, relief from respiratory disorders, skin care, reducing fever, protection of kidneys/liver, and relief from insect bites.₁₀ Wow!
Infographic Credit - A Health Blog
Some might consider blueberries to be the healthiest fruit due to their high antioxidant content. The flavonoids that produce the beautiful blue color of this fruit also constitute the protection of your cells against free radicals. Besides their antioxidant value, blueberries also contain significant amounts of fiber, vitamins C/K, and manganese. Other vitamins and minerals that comprise this produce powerhouse are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A/B6/E, zinc, and folate. Blueberries may assist in reducing DNA damage, promoting heart health, lowering blood pressure, improving memory, and reducing muscle damage.₁₁ There’s a whole lot of health-promoting potency to be found in this small berry.
By incorporating these various super fruits and vegetables into your diet, you have the ability to target specific areas of your body. Once you learn which vitamins and minerals will assist in balancing your individual nutritional deficit, you can make the educated decision to incorporate specific superfoods into your diet. Erin Baker’s top 11 spring superfoods have supplied a substantial list, but it’s up to you to integrate health promoting nourishment into your daily routine.
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- NCBI - Vitamin K and Brain Function
- Farmers Almanac - 8 Healthiest Spring Vegetables
- NCB - Health Benefits of Cherries
- Organic Facts - Mango
- Virily - Similarities Spinach - Swiss Chard
- WHFoods - Potatoes
- Natural Food Series - 11 Health Benefits of Apricots
- Food Facts - Scallions
- Organic Facts - Strawberries
- Organic Facts - Health Benefits of Radish
- Health Line - 10 Proven Benefits of Blueberries