Spring is finally here in the Treasure Valley, which means your local grocers and farmers markets are overflowing with all kinds of fresh produce. This is a great time of year for healthy eating, and it feels especially good after months of warm comfort food like cream-based soups and hearty casseroles during the fall and winter. With all of the great fitness events coming up in May, you’ll want to fuel your body with nutritious food. Here’s a look at 10 of the best choices you can add to your grocery cart this spring. Click on the links to learn even more about each of these good for you foods.
Artichokes Rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, potatssium, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, chromium, folic acid, manganese, and magnesium, artichokes are said to lower cholesterol, assist in digestion, and provide relief for irritable bowel syndrome. There is also evidence that artichokes may help stabilize blood sugar, which is important to control diabetes. Look for these at Paul’s right now priced two for $5.
Asparagus Just one cup of asparagus provides more than a day’s supply of vitamin K, and over half a day’s supply of folate. You’ll also get vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, and C, plus tryptophan, protein, manganese, dietary fiber, phosphorous, protein, iron, copper, zinc, calcium, selenium, and magnesium, all for 43 calories. Find it at $2.48 per pound at WinCo right now.
Blueberries These little gems contain a wide variety of antioxidants which can benefit the nervous and cardiovascular systems, boost brain function, regulate blood sugar, improve eye health, and possibly protect against some cancers. A one cup serving of blueberries has only 84 calories, and provides 35 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K, and about a quarter of your daily requirement for vitamin C and manganese, as well as a good amount of dietary fiber. They’re still priced a little high, at $4.48 for a 6-ounce basket at WinCo right now. But don’t worry. The price will come down soon enough.
Carrots Not surprisingly, carrots provide the highest amount of carotenes—highly pigmented compounds which can be converted into vitamin A and have antioxidant properties—than any other food. In one cup of raw carrots, you will get nearly six times your recommended daily allowance for vitamin A, as well as vitamins C, and K, B vitamins like niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine, potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium, manganese and folate, all for 52 calories. You’ll pay $1.98 for a 2-pound bag of baby carrots at WinCo right now.
Fennel A cup of sliced fennel has only 26 calories, and you’ll get vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, and even a little vitamin B3. Fennel also contains flavonoids like quercetin, an antioxidant which is also found in foods like red apples, grapes, blueberries, onions, black and green tea, and broccoli. It has been shown to increase energy expenditure in rats, over a short period of time. Bulbs are $2.78 per pound at WinCo right now.
Leeks Like garlic and other Allium species, leeks provide compounds that can help reduce your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while raising your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. In a half-cup serving of leeks, you’ll get manganese, vitamin C, iron, folate, and vitamin B6, for only 16 calories. The combination nutrients in leeks have also been shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels. Leeks are priced at $2.48 per bundle at WinCo right now, with each bundle containing about three large leeks.
Peas Green peas are a very good source of folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin C, and vitamin K. Our bodies can convert some vitamin K into K2, which in turn activates osteocalcin. That anchors calcium molecules inside the bone and aids in bone mineralization. Peas are also a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin (B2), and niacin (B3), and iron. Look for fresh snow peas at WinCo right now for $3.48 per pound.
Rhubarb Technically a vegetable, we treat rhubarb like a fruit. It provides vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium and fiber. Rhubarb has a long history as a medicinal root. It’s said to aid a variety of ailments, including constipation, hot flashes, and heartburn. It is also reported to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots which can lead to stroke and heart attacks, and can be used topically for infections such as staph. Fresh stalks are arriving at WinCo now, priced at $2.48 per pound.
Strawberries Everyone’s favorite, strawberries supply more than a day’s worth of vitamin C, and rich in manganese, iodine, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, and vitamins B2, B5, B6, and K, with only 43 calories per cup. Look for fresh strawberries at $3.88 for a 2-pound carton at WinCo right now.
Watercress A member of the cabbage family, watercress has a peppery, somewhat tangy flavor, that can enhance many dishes. It’s loaded with iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamins A and C, and iodine. If too much salty food and warm weather tend to make you bloat, try a little watercress, as it has diuretic properties. Like any dark green, leafy vegetable (or herb), it’s loaded with antioxidants, so get some on your plate. Find watercress for $1.78 per bundle at WinCo right now.
Talk it up:
What good for you foods are going in your grocery cart right now?
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