Spring is in the air here in Mount Pleasant and Charleston. In the spirit of bikini season, we thought it would be great to talk about revamping your diet to help boost your energy in the gym, tamp down those residual winter-cravings and improve your overall fitness. Health Magazine puts it this way: “‘Food, if it’s chosen well, can reshape our medical destinies for the better,’ says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. It can also improve our mood, focus, energy, skin, and metabolism.” So with that in mind, we culled our favorite resources to find out what some of the best superfoods of the season are and how we can start incorporating them into our springtime diets.
SUPERFOOD #1: ASPARAGUS
According to Health Magazine: “These spears are one of the best veggie sources of folate, a B vitamin that could help keep you out of a slump…A cup of cooked asparagus has 268 micrograms (mcg)—two-thirds of the 400 mcg RDA for women. Add a cup of enriched pasta—which is fortified with folic acid, the synthetic form of folate—and you’ll have a feel-good meal indeed.” Click HERE for asparagus recipe ideas from New York Times Cooking.
SUPERFOOD #2 RADISHES
The Active Times suggests that “one way to recognize spring superfoods is by color; they resemble all the hues you see outside – green, yellow, pink or blue. The more colorful your plate is with fruits and vegetables in season, the more “super” your meal is.” And with that in mind they recommend radishes. According to their website, these gorgeous red veggies “do magic with the digestive system. They have a lot of Vitamin C, about a third of what you need a day. Don’t ignore the leaves. They are also rich in Vitamin C, but contain plenty of calcium and protein. If you don’t like the taste of raw radishes, add them to your smoothie. You’ll barely taste them but enjoy all of their benefits.” Click HERE for radish inspiration from Epicurious.
SUPERFOOD #3 BEETS
US News recommends another brilliantly hued veggie, the beet, for countless wellness-related benefits. “Beets, a member of the chenopod family, boost energy levels and lower blood pressure. Research suggest they can also help fight cancer, reduce pain from arthritis and lead to weight loss. One cup of cooked beets contains about 60 calories, along with decent amounts of potassium, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium and iron.” Click HERE for beet recipes from The Huffington Post.
SUPERFOOD #4 ARUGULA
Harper’s Baazar recommends trading out iceberg lettuce for arugula. “‘Arugula is in season from spring to early summer months and contains about eight times the amount of calcium, five times the amount of vitamin A, C, and K and four times the amount of iron compared to traditional iceberg lettuce,’ says Kieth Kantor, RD, author of the Green League of Nutritious Justice.” And arugula is not just for salads these days. Click HERE for some outside-the-box arugula recipes from Bon Appetit.
SUPERFOOD #5 ARTICHOKE
And finally, Men’s Fitness deems the artichoke “The Nutritional Superhero”: “At only 64 calories for a medium cooked artichoke, the vegetable serves as an excellent source of vitamin C and contains a whopping 10 grams of dietary fiber—that’s almost half of the recommended USDA daily recommendation—and has about four grams of protein.” However the magazine does warn that ordering spinach and artichoke dip does NOT COUNT! You need to dig beneath the layers of cheese and fat to get to the nutritional good stuff. Click HERE to get some artichoke recipes that WON’T break the calorie bank from Eating Well.