By Tammy Stokes, Founder Cafe West Express
TIME FOR SPRING CLEANING - No mop, broom or gloves required.
There are reasons we crave lighter, crisper and high water content foods in the Springtime. First off, our bodies natural desire is to shed the extra layer of weight we may have put on during winter, but beyond that, we are innately in sync with the seasonal shifts and what’s growing from the earth. Dietary traditions like Ayurveda and macrobiotic, believe that eating with the season helps keep the body in balance.
Spring is a time for cleansing. “Spring Cleaning” doesn’t just refer to cleaning your home, but also, your diet. Your winter diet typically contains more comfort foods which are higher in protein and fats. This puts added stress on the liver and kidneys. The spring harvest of high water content fruits, lettuces and greens helps to flush the kidneys. This shift in dietary choices means spring cleaning for the body.
Here’s why you should eat these spring favorites at their most flavorful peak:
Apricots are high in vitamin A, rich in beta-carotene, a good source of potassium and fiber. They are low in calories, provide a small bundle of antioxidants and nutrients in every sun-colored bite.
Arugula is part of the cruciferous family. Regular consumption of a variety of cruciferous veggies may help reduce your risk of some cancers. Arugula grown in spring has a milder taste. One cup contains about 5 calories and its loaded with vitamin K, plus, eye healthy carotenoids. It also contains vitamin A and folate. Try an arugula salad with another spring harvest favorite- strawberries. The sweet taste of in-season strawberries counter the slightly bitter arugula.
Asparagus in its peak has a delicate flavor and when cooked perfectly, it should have a light crunch. It’s low in calories and rich in nutrients. One cup contains a whopping dose of 404 mg of potassium and provides a good source of folate, an important B vitamin. All that plus, 3 grams of fiber per serving. Add it to your breakfast omelette or an arugula salad.
Mustard Greens are a nice change up from kale and spinach. At their peak they have a nice peppery flavor. They are packed with heart-healthy, disease-fighting nutrients. These greens are a delicious source of calcium, magnesium, folic acid and vitamin K. Use them in place of any recipe that calls for collards or kale.
Spring onions a.k.a. scallions are milder than other varieties of onions. These green onions are loaded with essential nutrients. Both the green leafy part and the white bulb are edible. Their antibacterial and antiviral properties help protect against cold and flu viruses. If you have spring allergies, eating onions might even help reduce the seasonal effects because onions contain quercetin which have antiallergic properties. Enjoy them in your spring salads.
Strawberries are the early birds of the spring harvest. Most berries don’t peak until the summer months. One cup of strawberries has only 50 calories. They are a good source of fiber and vitamin C, but that’s not all, they contain compounds that protect against certain types of cancers and they are loaded with antioxidants. Think of them like nature’s candy- a perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of tart.
Maybe now you’ll think of spring as the perfect time to clean up your diet and your home.
For the entire list of spring produce go here.