Eating Spring Seasonally
You may have heard your mother say, “Eat your vegetables!” or “Have some fruit!” when you were growing up. Studies show that most Americans eat too few fruits and vegetables, according to Kathleen Mahan and Sylvia Escott-Stump in “Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy.” Vegetables and fruits provide needed nutrients with few calories. When you eat more fruits and vegetables you are likely to eat fewer high-fat and high-starch foods and reduce your risk for certain chronic diseases.
The modern synthetic diet, formulated to appeal to our inherent attraction to sugar, salt, fats, and calories at the expense of nutrition, leaves us overfed and under-nourished. A considerable portion of chronic human diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, appear to be related largely to a diet that is inadequate in the essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other constituents found in natural, unprocessed foods.
Today, dietitians agree that plant foods should comprise the major part of the healthy human diet. Moreover, they have determined that fruits and vegetables are the keys to obtaining not just adequate vitamins and minerals, but a wide variety of other elements that can contribute therapeutically to human health.
Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut.
They promote the increase of friendly bacteria in the gut, help with various digestive problems and even boost your immune system.
Prebiotic foods have also been shown to improve metabolic health and even help prevent certain diseases.
However, some of the fiber content of these foods may be altered during cooking, so try to consume them raw rather than cooked.
The food you eat plays an important role in the balance of good and bad gut bacteria.
For example, a high-sugar and high-fat diet influences the gut bacteria negatively, allowing harmful species to overgrow .
Once you regularly feed the wrong bacteria, they are able to grow faster and colonize more easily, without as many helpful bacteria to prevent them from doing so.
The harmful bacteria may also cause you to absorb more calories than people with a healthy balance of gut bacteria, who tend to be leaner
Do yourself and your gut bacteria a favor by eating plenty of these prebiotic foods.
Probiotics versus Prebiotics
Probiotics are fermented food with bacteria beneficial to digestion
Prebiotics are carbs usually fiber that humans cannot digest the beneficial bacteria in your gut eats this fiber.
Think of Metabolic Health is when all the cells in your body are working correctly and harmoniously.
Exercise, appropriate energy balance, sleep, sunlight and good nutrition all affect your body on a cellular level. Supporting proper cellular function supports health on a systemic level. Our approach to health must be expansive and systemic, and not fixate on only one or two aspects of cellular function. Only when the SYSTEM is healthy is metabolic health achieved.
Eating seasonally provides the nutrients that the body needs in balance with the seasons.
Among the fruits and vegetables in season, cucumbers—the cucumiform fruit, is readily available in spring. Consisting of approximately 96 percent water, cucumbers are ideal for keeping you hydrated. The excessive water content helps in flushing out the waste from the body. Vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C in cucumber provide energy and boost immunity. Minerals like silicon, potassium, and magnesium are beneficial for the skin. Both the minerals and the vitamins help in easing muscular and joint pain. If you have a diseased gum, then juicing cucumbers while they are in season will help alleviate the pain and make your breath fresh.
Even though rhubarb is a vegetable, its stalk is considered a fruit. The main crop of rhubarb is available in the market readily in between March and May —therefore it is the best time of the year to use rhubarb in your recipes. Rhubarb contains protein, dietary fiber, minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium, and manganese), vitamins (C, B, B-complex). However, bear in mind that the high content of oxalic acid in the leaves is dangerous for health. Therefore, discard the leaves and use the crispy and plump stalks. So poach rhubarbs —a classic favorite ingredient, to make jams, purees, crumbles and pies.
Among other seasonal fruits and vegetables, asparagus is a healthy spring vegetables with plenty of health benefits. Asparagus is a super-food to incorporate in your ingredients in May. The vegetable is rich in folate, anti oxidants like anthocyanins, vitamins (K, A, C, B1, B2, and B3). Asparagus has a low fat and calorie content so if you have weight loss goals in mind, you can use asparagus as a chief ingredient this spring. Amino acids in asparagus give it the properties of a diuretic. It helps in excretion and eases a bloated stomach.
The first crop of Broccoli is harvested in May, however, you may enjoy it all year round. The wholesome vegetable is full of nutrients. It contains dietary fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, minerals (potassium, magnesium, selenium, calcium, and selenium), and vitamins, such as B6, E, B1, and A). Broccoli helps in keeping the lining of the stomach strong and facilitates digestion. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and it is extremely good for maintaining a healthy heart and eyes. You shouldn’t boil broccoli for too long as it results in the loss of essential nutrients. Consuming the vegetables raw is the best way to attain the maximum health benefits, but be sure to cut it up into fine pieces and massage well with salt and oil to soften and break down the cells to ease digestion.
The season radish in the US runs from May to the middle of October. The juicy and crunchy root vegetable is a delicious salad ingredients but it can bring an element of zing to an assortment of dishes. Radishes are low-calorie food items that are packed with vitamins (A, C, E, and K), folates, riboflavin, electrolytes (sodium and potassium), minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and calcium), and phyto-nutrients. Radish is good for curing urinary disorders, piles, and jaundice. Since it is a wholesome and fulfilling vegetable it helps in satiating hunger and keep you hydrated in summer.
Spinach, Tatsoi other Leafy Greens
Spinach is among the top seasonal fruits and vegetables that you can consume in May. The nutritional value of spinach is due to zinc, protein, choline, phosphorous, magnesium, fiber, and vitamins (A, C, E K, B1, B2, B6). Spinach has plenty of health benefits. It is good for bone health, hair and skin. Spinach helps in controlling the glucose in blood, reducing blood pressure, and mitigating the risk of developing respiratory diseases like asthma. You can make several flavorsome dishes with spinach by using it as an ingredient in soup, smoothies, salads or stir fries.