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Top 5 Spring Superfoods
Spring is officially here and I couldn’t be more excited. There is something so magical about this season. It’s a time of growth, freshness and more sunshine! Today, I am sharing my top 5 superfoods for spring!
Did you know that sprouts contain the highest concentration of phytonutrients per calorie compared to any other food? This means they are loaded with nutrients in each and every bite. The germination process helps to increase their antioxidant content, especially when it comes to vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene. We also see high amounts of sulforaphane, a compound naturally found in cruciferous vegetables known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Enjoy more sprouts this spring, alfalfa, broccoli, radish, clover etc. They can be a great addition to your salads, stir fries, smoothies, or even served on top of a fresh egg.
What can’t kale do is the real question? Kale is a dark, leafy green loaded with nutrients. The good news is kale is in season in Ontario starting in May! Kale provides our bodies with a source of non-heme plant based iron, needed for oxygen transport, liver function, cell growth, and much more. Iron levels in your body also play a major role in fatigue. Have you been feeling extra tired lately? Have you checked your iron levels? If not, perhaps do so at your next doctor visit.
Kale contains many antioxidants, but they are heat sensitive. To preserve the nutrient content of kale, use it this spring in salads, or quickly blanch or sauté it on medium heat. Not only is it rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, A, and fibre. It also contains plant based omega-3 fatty acids, important for heart health and reducing inflammation in the body. For anyone on blood thinners, check with your health care provider, dietitian/nutritionist before increasing your kale intake, as it is super high in vitamin K and might interfere with your blood thinning medication.
Eggs are so versatile, making them an amazing quick and simple protein to add to your meals. Did you know that egg white is a complete protein, containing all nine of the essential amino acids? Egg yolk is where the fat exists, this fat helps promote satiety and works to keep your blood sugar levels stable. For all these reasons eggs are often know as the “perfect protein.”
Eggs are one of the few foods that contain choline, which is important for neurological development, metabolism, memory, and nerve function. In addition, eggs are rich in B vitamins, needed for energy, cognitive functioning, and so much more! Fun fact: eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D (our sun vitamin).
Asparagus season also starts in May here in Ontario, which is super exciting because these tasty green spears are packed with nutrients (and much cheaper when in season).
Asparagus are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre, as well as being low in calories. In fact, asparagus are a great prebiotic (food for your good gut bacteria).
Asparagus contain high amounts of asparagine, a natural diuretic that works to remove excess fluid from your body. These green spears are rich in antioxidants, low in calories, and help support digestive health. In addition, they are rich in folic acid, which is especially important for pregnant women or those trying to conceive.
Add them to your pasta dishes, stir fries, or even mix them with some eggs (making a delicious omelette or frittata).
Salmon is rich in anti-inflammatory properties, especially omega-3s. We need more omega-3s in the diet to help reduce inflammation and ultimately reduce risk of chronic disease. In North America our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio tends to be off balance, so the more omega-3s we can introduce into our diet the better.
In addition, salmon is also a great source of vitamin D, especially when wild (compared to farmed).
How often should you eat salmon or fatty fish? The recommendation when it comes to getting enough omega -3s and healthy fats is about twice each week, with a serving being about 3 oz. of fatty fish.
This spring enjoy your salmon grilled on the BBQ, cube your salmon, rub with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and black pepper. Add the salmon cubes to a skewer with diced pineapple in between. It’s so simple and delicious! Cheers to happy and healthy eating this spring!
Angela Wallace is a registered dietitian nutritionist, family food expert, and certified personal trainer. She specializes in women’s health, with a focus on weight loss and digestive conditions. She uses a ‘non-dieting approach’ with her ultimate goals being to help people create healthy routines that work for them and create a healthy relationship with food.