Spring superfoods, arugula, radish on toast with peas
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5 Spring Superfoods You Should Be Eating Now

Spring has sprung, and at this time of year there’s a natural desire to shed the winter blues and embrace lighter, healthier habits. As a Registered Dietitian, I’m excited to share these 5 spring superfoods that are in season and ready to boost your health and tickle your taste buds. 

First off, what are superfoods?

What Are Superfoods?

Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods. They contain lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. This makes them particularly beneficial for health and well-being. 

Superfoods are typically whole foods. They include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and even certain fish and dairy products.

Although superfoods are often touted for their ability to boost health and ward off disease, it’s important to remember that “superfood” isn’t a scientific term. It is a marketing label highlighting the concentrated nutrients and potential health benefits of these foods.

So what are the top 5 spring superfoods? So glad you asked!

Top 5 Spring Superfoods

Whether you pick them up in the grocery store, health food stores, or your local farmer’s market, these foods can play an important role in a healthy spring diet.

Asparagus on a cutting board

Asparagus

Asparagus is a tender, spring vegetable known for its distinct flavor and vibrant green color. Its peak season typically begins in late March or early April and lasts through June, although availability may vary depending on location.

Asparagus Nutrition Facts

This nutritious vegetable is rich in key nutrients, including (1):

  • Vitamin A: Supports eye health and immune function.
  • Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant, boosts immune system, and promotes skin health.
  • Vitamin E: Works as an antioxidant to clear away free radicals and reduce risk of chronic diseases; also helps vision, brain, and skin health.
  • Vitamin K: Essential for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Folate (Vitamin B9): Important for DNA synthesis, cell growth, and fetal development during pregnancy.
  • Glutathione: A powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from damage and lowers your risk of chronic disease (2).

How to Enjoy Asparagus

Incorporating asparagus into your diet is simple and delicious. Here are some easy ways to enjoy this versatile vegetable:

Grilled. Toss asparagus spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill until tender and lightly charred. Serve as a side dish or add to salads and pasta dishes.

Roasted. Spread asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with garlic, lemon zest, and herbs. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized for a flavorful side dish.

Steamed. Steam asparagus until just tender-crisp. Season with butter, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a simple and healthy side.

Stir-fried. Quickly stir-fry asparagus with garlic, ginger, and your favorite vegetables and protein for a nutritious and colorful stir-fry dish.

Raw. Shave raw asparagus into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Toss with lemon vinaigrette, Parmesan cheese, and toasted nuts for a refreshing spring salad.

Incorporating asparagus into your diet adds vibrant flavor and texture to your meals. It also provides a variety of essential nutrients to support overall health and well-being.

Read more about the health benefits of asparagus in our article: Asparagus vs Broccoli: The Ultimate Health Comparison

A peapod open with peas inside

Peas

Peas are sweet, tender legumes that are typically harvested in the spring and early summer months. Their peak season usually starts in late spring and extends through early summer.

Pea Nutrition Facts

These small but mighty vegetables are packed with essential nutrients, including (3):

  • Dietary Fiber: With over 8 grams of fiber per cup, peas support digestive health and help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Protein: Provides essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth.
  • Vitamin C: Boosts immune function and promotes skin health.
  • Vitamin K: Essential for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Folate (Vitamin B9): Important for DNA synthesis and cell division.

How to Enjoy Peas

Incorporating peas into your diet is both easy and delicious. Here are some simple ways to enjoy these nutritious legumes:

Steamed. Steam fresh peas until tender-crisp, then toss with a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil for a quick and healthy side dish.

Mashed. Mash cooked peas with garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs for a flavorful alternative to mashed potatoes.

Soups and Stews. Add peas to soups, stews, and curries for a burst of color, flavor, and nutrition.

Salads. Toss fresh or blanched peas into salads along with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber. Add your favorite dressing for a light and refreshing spring salad.

Pasta Dishes. Stir cooked peas into pasta dishes like carbonara, Alfredo, or primavera for added texture and nutrition.

Risotto. Fold cooked peas into creamy risotto during the last few minutes of cooking for a vibrant and satisfying dish.

Whether enjoyed on their own or incorporated into various recipes, peas offer a nutritious addition to your springtime meals.

Bunch of radishes

Radishes

Radishes are crisp, peppery root vegetables that belong to the Brassicaceae family. They are typically in season during the spring and early summer months. Their peak season starts in late spring and extends through early summer.

Radish Nutrition Facts

These vibrant vegetables are low in calories but rich in essential nutrients, including (4):

  • Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant, boosts immune function, and promotes skin health.
  • Dietary Fiber: Supports digestive health and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Potassium: Important for heart health and muscle function.
  • Folate (Vitamin B9): Essential for DNA synthesis and cell division.
  • Glucosinolate and Isothiocyanate: Phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties, and may protect you from liver damage (5).

How to Enjoy Radishes

Incorporating radishes into your diet is simple and adds a crunchy, flavorful element to your meals. Here are some easy ways to enjoy radishes:

Raw. Slice radishes thinly and add them to salads for a refreshing crunch and peppery flavor.

Pickled. Quick-pickle radishes in vinegar, salt, and sugar. This makes a tangy and crunchy condiment that pairs well with sandwiches, tacos, and rice bowls.

Roasted. Roast whole radishes in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper until tender and caramelized for a unique and flavorful side dish.

Radish Butter. Mix finely chopped radishes with softened butter, salt, and herbs to create a tasty spread. Pair with bread, crackers, or vegetables for a great snack.

Stir-fry. Slice radishes and stir-fry them with other vegetables, tofu, or meat for a quick and nutritious meal.

Garnish. Use thinly sliced radishes as a colorful garnish for soups, tacos, and sushi rolls.

Whether eaten raw, pickled, roasted, or stir-fried, radishes add a delightful crunch and peppery kick to a variety of dishes.

See how radishes stack up against beets in our article: Beet vs Radish: Which is Healthier?

Arugula salad with strawberries

Arugula

Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, is a leafy green vegetable with a peppery flavor and tender texture. Its peak season typically occurs during the spring and early summer months, although it can be grown year-round in some regions.

Arugula Nutrition Facts

This nutrient-dense leafy green is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including (6):

  • Vitamin K: Important for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Vitamin A: Supports vision health and immune function.
  • Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant, boosts immune function, and promotes skin health.
  • Folate (Vitamin B9): Essential for DNA synthesis and cell division.
  • Glucosinolate: Phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties (7). 

How to Enjoy Arugula

Incorporating arugula into your diet is easy and adds a zesty, peppery flavor to your meals. Here are some simple ways to enjoy arugula:

Salads. Use arugula as the base for salads. Combine it with other fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and a light vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutritious meal.

Sandwiches and Wraps. Add a handful of arugula to sandwiches, wraps, and burgers for a burst of flavor and texture.

Pizzas and Flatbreads. Top pizzas and flatbreads with fresh arugula after baking to add a pop of color and freshness.

Pasta Dishes. Toss cooked pasta with olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and arugula for a simple yet flavorful pasta dish.

Smoothies. Blend arugula into smoothies. Mix with fruits, vegetables, and your favorite protein for a nutrient-packed green smoothie.

Pesto. Use arugula as a base for homemade pesto sauce along with garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil. Drizzle over pasta, pizza, or roasted vegetables.

No matter how you like to eat it, arugula adds a distinctive flavor and a dose of essential nutrients to your diet.

Hands holding a blue bowl full of fresh spinach

Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable known for its mild flavor and versatility in cooking. Its peak season occurs during the spring and fall months, although it is available year-round in many regions due to its hardiness.

Spinach Nutrition Facts

This nutrient-rich vegetable is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including (8):

  • Vitamin A: Supports vision health and immune function.
  • Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant, boosts immune function, and promotes skin health.
  • Vitamin K: Important for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Folate (Vitamin B 9): Essential for DNA synthesis and cell division.
  • Iron: Vital for transporting oxygen throughout the body and preventing iron deficiency anemia.
  • Nitrates: Linked to lower blood pressure and decreased risk of heart disease (9).

How to Enjoy Spinach

Incorporating spinach into your diet is easy and adds a nutritional boost to your meals. Here are some simple ways to enjoy spinach:

Salads. Use fresh spinach as the base for salads. Combine it with other vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and a light dressing for a nutrient-packed meal.

Smoothies. Blend spinach into smoothies. Mix with fresh fruit, vegetables, and your favorite protein for a nutritious and energizing drink.

Sautéed or Stir-fried. Sauté or stir-fry spinach with garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. This makes a tasty side dish or topping for sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas.

Soups and Stews. Add spinach to soups, stews, and curries during the last few minutes of cooking for added color, flavor, and nutrition.

Egg Dishes. Fold chopped spinach into omelets, frittatas, quiches, and scrambled eggs. This can be a hearty and nutritious breakfast or brunch option.

Pasta and Rice Dishes. Stir cooked spinach into pasta sauces, risottos, and rice dishes for added texture, flavor, and nutrients.

Whether eaten raw in salads, blended into smoothies, or cooked into eggs or soup, spinach offers a wealth of vital nutrients. Like other leafy greens, it has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great addition to any diet.

See the showdown on these two leafy greens in our article: Arugula vs Spinach: Which is Better for You?

There are huge benefits to eating superfoods in season too!

Benefits of Eating Seasonally

Embrace seasonal eating and reap a range of benefits, both for yourself and the environment.

Nutritional Powerhouse 

Seasonal produce bursts with freshness and nutrients, picked at the peak of ripeness. This means higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to produce that travels long distances or sits in storage.

Support Local Heroes 

Choosing seasonal produce allows you to support local farmers, strengthening your community’s economy and preserving valuable farmland.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

Locally grown options use less energy for transportation and storage. This can mean lower greenhouse gas emissions and a lighter environmental impact.

Variety and Flavor 

Seasonal produce offers a diverse range of flavors and textures throughout the year, allowing you to enjoy a varied diet. Eating with the seasons encourages culinary creativity and exploration, as you discover new ingredients and recipes tailored to each season’s offerings.

Cost-Effectiveness 

Seasonal foods are often more affordable because they are abundant during their peak growing season. By choosing seasonal produce, you can save money on your grocery bills while still enjoying fresh and nutritious foods.

Connection to Nature 

Eating seasonally connects us to the natural world and the changing rhythms of the seasons. It promotes mindfulness and awareness of the cycles of nature. This can foster a greater appreciation for the food we eat and the environments that sustain us.

People shopping at a farmer's market

Dig Into Your Spring Superfoods

Spring offers an array of nutrient-packed seasonal superfoods that not only tantalize your taste buds but also nourish your body. 

Filling your plate with spring superfoods may mean decreased cholesterol levels, decreased risk of high blood pressure, cancer prevention, weight loss, and many other health benefits.

Plus, by choosing locally grown, seasonal ingredients, we support local farmers, reduce our environmental footprint, and savor the peak flavors and nutritional benefits of these spring superfoods.

So get creative in the kitchen! Whether it’s tossing together a refreshing salad, blending a nourishing smoothie, or savoring roasted vegetables, give these spring superfoods a try. Happy spring eating!

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