7 Healthy Spring Foods and Wow, The 2nd Is so Popular

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Healthy Vegetables
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We all know we should focus on a healthy diet.. But why are certain foods so good for us? Jennifer Christman from Medifast provides 7 foods to eat in spring and explains why they are so healthy.

1. Asparagus
Asparagus, a seasonal favorite, and a vegetable that you’ll want to be sure to incorporate into your meals this season! One serving of asparagus, approximately one-half cup cooked, is a good source of fiber, folate, chromium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. These nutrients support the health of our heart, eyes, immune system, and digestive system. Chromium, specifically, helps to transport glucose into our cells for use as energy.

Asparagus is also loaded with antioxidants, which help to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and act as an anti-carcinogen. Not only is asparagus healthy, but it’s easy to prepare. You can roast, grill, simmer, blanch, steam or even microwave the delicious green veggie. Be sure to look for green, white, or purple asparagus varieties this spring at your local farmers market or grocery store.

2. Eggs
Eggs are a symbol of fertility and of religious worship for many people, especially in the springtime. From a nutritional standpoint, eggs can be a part of a healthy meal plan. One egg contains six grams of inexpensive, high-quality protein that includes all nine essential amino acids. Eggs are also a good source of Vitamin D as well as choline, which is a mineral that may help to reduce inflammation and risk for certain chronic diseases.

One egg contains 70 calories, five grams of fat, 1½ grams of saturated fat, and 185 milligrams of cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, one or two eggs daily when coupled with a low-fat diet can be a part of a heart-healthy meal plan. (For more specific information about a heart healthy diet, visit the American Heart Association.

Eggs can be incorporated into a variety of recipes including frittatas, omelets, and soufflés. Hard boiled eggs can be added to salads or eaten as a snack. Egg whites, egg substitutes and Medifast Eggs are also a great option for those who want to consume less cholesterol and fewer calories. The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan® has the option of enjoying eggs, egg whites, and egg substitutes as a part of the daily Lean & Green™ Meal. The verdict is in---eggs are an egg-cellent source of nutrients!

3. Mint
Mint is a refreshing, light perennial plant that grows either above or below ground in humid soil and moderate sunlight. Mint not only tastes great, but also has surprising health benefits. Eating mint either before or after a meal stimulates digestive juices and enzymes which can aid in digestion or help combat indigestion. For this reason, it is a great ingredient to incorporate into sauces, soups, or teas.

The pleasant aroma of mint can ease feelings of nausea or even relieve headaches, coughs, or asthma. Adding fresh mint to water is a great way to boost flavor while staying hydrated and refreshed. If you’re entertaining this spring, using mint to garnish dishes will add color and appeal to your meals.

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4. Radishes
Radishes come in beautiful, bright red and purple hues making them a great way to add color to any meal. They are especially delicious when added to salads or vegetable dishes. Radishes typically do not thrive during the hot months of summer, so spring is the perfect time to fit them into your cooking and meal planning.

An excellent source of vitamin C, radishescan serve as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Potassium-rich radishes can also aide in heart and kidney health. One half-cup serving of radish slices contains only nine calories and 1.97 grams of carbohydrates, making this a great, healthy vegetable choice.

5. Spinach
This leafy green vegetable is a great source of fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K, which are all nutrients that support a healthy immune system and promote healthy skin, teeth, vision, nerve function, and blood clotting. Spinach is also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of certain chronic eye diseases.

Spinach can be eaten raw in a salad or sandwich or can be cooked as a side dish or mixed with other foods as part of a main course. Medifast gives the option of having cooked or raw spinach as a part of the daily Lean & Green™ Meal. One serving of spinach is equal to one cup of raw spinach or ½ cup of cooked spinach. Spinach can be sautéed quickly in a small amount of oil, steamed over boiling water for 3-5 minutes, or microwaved for about 4-5 minutes. Don’t forget spinach on your grocery list this spring.

6. Rhubarb
Have you ever tried growing rhubarb during the spring? After long winter dormancy, rhubarb quickly begins to protrude from the ground and blossoms into a giant perennial. Did you know only the thick red and green stalks are edible on a rhubarb plant, but that the leaves and roots are toxic due to excessive oxalic acid?

Rhubarb is a good source of Vitamins C and K, calcium, and fiber. Rhubarbs tart flavor quickly becomes sweet when stewed or roasted. Cooked rhubarb can add a unique flavor to smoothies, sauces, chutneys, and salsas. A rhubarb chutney or salsa complements salmon, trout, roasted chicken, turkey, and pork chops well. Roasted rhubarb also tastes delicious when paired with toasted walnuts and goat cheese. Eating seasonally is a great way to save money and, because rhubarb grows in abundance, it can keep the weekly grocery costs down this spring.

7. Garlic
Mincing cloves of garlic is certainly no one’s favorite task, however, the delicious flavor, aroma, and health benefits that garlic provides are well worth the effort. Did you know eating garlic regularly may reduce atherosclerosis and the risk of stomach, colorectal, and prostate cancers? These benefits are related to garlic’s rich phytochemical content which delivers cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting characteristics.

Garlic and garlic scapes are available in both spring and early summer. Purchasing garlic at your local farmers’ market is a great way to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and support the local economy. Garlic can be enjoyed raw or cooked by adding it to salads, stir-fries, sauces, and stews.

Written by Jennifer Christman, RD, LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager for Medifast.

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