Spring has sprung here in Portland and the glorious sunshine seems to be lightening everyone’s mood. As the weather begins to turn warmer, our bodies start to shift from a focus on the heavy, warming foods of winter to a craving for light, healthy fare. This short transition time between winter and summer offers us a multitude of yummy, healthy foods to fill our bellies. Here are four of my favorites.
- Baby artichokes: They’re sweeter than full-size artichokes, and because you don’t have to remove the tough inner choke, the entire thing is edible. Artichokes are a low calorie, no fat food loaded with fiber and vitamin c, folate and magnesium. Artichokes contain a unique form of fiber known as inulin, an amazing prebiotic food for the “good” bacteria in your gut.
- Asparagus: Asparagus is another low calorie, high taste food that sprouts in Spring. Like other foods on this list, it is a good source of fiber, supports the liver and provides food for the “good” bacteria in our gut. Asparagus is also loaded with Vitamin K, important for blood clotting and bone health.
- Cherries: I love cherry season here in the Northwest. It is a time of pure indulgence for me with the abundance of fresh, sweet cherries available. Cherries are a good source of melatonin, important for regulating sleep. Cherries contain powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins and cyanidin that help protect the body from free radical damage. These same anti oxidants may help reduce arthritis pain. Drinking tart cherry juice before exercise may help reduce post exercise muscle soreness.
- Dandelion greens: I know many people feel these are the bain of their lawn’s existence but dandelion greens are incredibly tasty in a salad or made into a pesto. They are rich in Vitamin C, K and A as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and protein. Traditionally, they have also been valued for their medicinal qualities. Dandelion greens act as a natural diuretic, support liver health and can help boost digestion. They also reduce swelling and inflammation and support healthy teeth, gums and skin.
These are just a few of the many amazing foods that are beginning to pop up in the food aisles. Head to your local farmer’s market to enjoy all the tasty treats Spring has to offer.