Registered Dietitian Shares Four Springtime Vegetables to Add to Your Diet

Spring is a great time to remind people about seasonal eating.  Seasonal produce is fresher; picked at its peak, it’s less likely to be processed or frozen or traveling long distances to get to the supermarket shelves— so choosing these foods also offers an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint.

The extended daylight and sunny weather during springtime promotes growth and renewal, and if you’re trying to eat a more plant-based diet, incorporating in-season fruits and veggies is a great way to start!

In reality, eating more vegetables is something many of us need to work on. Most of us aren’t getting even close to the 2-3 cups of vegetables we should be eating each day.

Susan Bowerman shares four spring vegetables, and the nutritional benefits they offer, to add to your menus this season:

  1. Asparagus – A member of the lily family, asparagus is high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, and vitamins A, B6 and C.  Asparagus is also a source of rutin, an antioxidant pigment that supports vascular health.
  2. Arugula – As a member of the kale and cabbage family, arugula contains many of the same antioxidant compounds called glucosinolates.  These compounds also give arugula its slightly bitter flavor.  Arugula is a source of vitamins A, C and K as well as folic acid; it also contains the minerals calcium, potassium and magnesium.
  3. Spinach– Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables and belongs to the same plant family as beets, chard and quinoa.  It is one of the best plant sources of dietary iron, and is also a good source of vitamins A, C and K and folate, and the minerals manganese, and magnesium.  It gets its green color from several antioxidant pigments beta-carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A), lutein and zeaxanthin.
  4. Peas – Green peas are actually a legume, or bean, which is why they are a good source of protein.  They are also high in fiber and a good source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K.  They’re also a good source of iron and phosphorus.  Like other green vegetables, they get their green color from the antioxidant phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
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