5 Spring Vegetables Packed With Nutritional Benefits

5 Spring Vegetables Packed With Nutritional BenefitsAs spring arrives it’s easier than ever to enjoy vegetables. Your local farmer’s market is overflowing with fresh produce you can prepare in a number of ways. Best of all, these veggies will add lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to your diet. What are your best bets when it comes to springtime nutrition? Here are five spring vegetables that hit a home run when it comes to health benefits.

Spring Vegetables: Artichokes

Some people are intimidated by fresh artichokes and aren’t sure how to prepare them. You can steam, grill, braise, saute or roast them to bring out their flavor. Some people even stuff artichokes with vegetables and bread crumbs.

To do the initial prep, trim off the stem and about an inch off the top of the artichoke. Then peel off the leaves right around the stem. If any thorny tips remain on the leaves, remove those too. Artichokes brown quickly after you slice them. To keep them green, place them in water with the juice of a lemon. Use one lemon per two cups of water.

Why should you eat artichokes? This spring veggie contains a chemical called cyarin that’s good for digestion and for your liver. In fact, some practitioners recommend artichoke extract for liver health. They’re also a good source of fiber, magnesium, folate, and antioxidants. A medium artichoke has only 60 calories and 6 grams of fiber. That’s clean eating at its best!

Spring Vegetables: Asparagus

Asparagus is a rich source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and a number of B vitamins. It’s also rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A. Beta-carotene is important for eye health and for a healthy immune system. It also contains a unique antioxidant called rutin that helps strengthen blood vessels as well as saponins that bind to cholesterol in your intestinal tract so you don’t absorb it. Best of all, it only has around 30 calories per cup.

One of the best ways to bring out the flavor of asparagus is to grill it. Sprinkle asparagus with black pepper, a little sea salt, and parmesan shavings and pop them on the grill. If you don’t want to get out the grill, drizzle asparagus sprigs in olive oil, lemon juice, and spices and roast them in the oven at 425 degrees F for ten minutes. Don’t be surprised if they become your favorite spring side dish.

Spring Vegetables: Swiss Chard

This is a green, leafy veggie most people forget about – but hopefully not you. Swiss chard is rich in antioxidants called carotenoids, including beta-carotene. A diet rich in carotenoids may lower your risk for two common causes of age-related visual loss – cataracts and macular degeneration. Swiss chard is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, a number of B vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Looking for ways to enjoy the health benefits of Swiss chard? Sautee it with a little butter and then drizzle it with a bit of balsamic vinegar. Add it to your next soup or stew for more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Use it anywhere you would normally use spinach. How about a Swiss chard frittata or omelet with caramelized onions, tomatoes, and goat cheese? Enjoy antioxidant-rich goodness of chard this spring.

Spring Vegetables: Watercress

Watercress is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. Like the other veggies we’ve mentioned, it’s a good source of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamins. It’ll help you meet your daily quota of calcium and magnesium too.

Watercress contains a compound called naturtiin that helps your liver break down toxins. With detox being all the rage it’s a safe way to help your liver process the toxins you’re exposed to every day. As you might expect, it’s also a good source of antioxidants that help keep your cells healthy. Research also suggests compounds in watercress may reduce damage to DNA, the genetic material inside cells. No wonder it’s called an anti-cancer superfood! For all of those benefits, it only has 11 calories per serving. Can’t beat that!

To get the most benefits from watercress, enjoy it raw. Cooking it destroys some of its natural antioxidants. Add watercress to salads for a bit of peppery “bite.” Use it in wraps, on sandwiches, and as a pizza topping. It’s more than just a garnish – it’s a nutrient-packed spring “must eat” for spring.

Spring Vegetables: Beets

Beets contain more natural sugar than most spring vegetables but there are some compelling reasons to add them to your diet. Beet juice is a good source of nitrates, compounds that convert to nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels. Preliminary research shows beet juice lowers systolic blood pressure. Other research shows sipping beet juice increases exercise endurance. Sip it before your next workout.

Looking for ways to enjoy beets? Roast them in the oven and sprinkle with fresh goat cheese. You can also steam, boil or saute them. Mix sliced or chopped beets in with a bowl of greens or slice them thinly and add them to your next salad. They’re also a tasty addition to smoothies for an added touch of natural sweetness. How about homemade beet chips?

 The Bottom Line?

You can’t go wrong with the nutritional benefits of these five spring vegetables. Best of all, they’re easy to find at your local Farmer’s market, grocery store or natural food market. Enjoy!


Medical News Today. “Watercress: Anti-Cancer Superfood”

Science Daily. “Beetroot Juice Boosts Stamina, New Study Shows”

Science Daily. “Nitrate in beetroot juice lowers blood pressure, study finds”

World’s Healthiest Foods website.


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