Right now, with temperatures in the UK slowly pushing up the mercury on our thermometers – many of us can’t wait for those longer days of sunshine to arrive and to kick-start ourselves into healthy living; away from those carb hungry winter, comfort foods and onto fresh, green spring vegetables, which makes such a difference to our health and mood. Lack of sunlight meant low in Vitamin D and lethargic feelings. So many suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). So, to kick-start things off for the new season, I thought I’d produce this helpful guide to aid you about what is in season locally and when.
As a child were you told to eat your greens as they are good for you? I’m afraid to say our parent’s were right….Greens are high in dietary fibre, or roughage as it used to be known. This is the ingestible portion of food that is derived from plants. Consumption of foods high in fibre are know to reduce appetites. Fibre often speeds up digestion and quickly processed through the intestinal tract for the ‘call of nature.’
To help you work out how much we should all be eating for these produce to count as our 5-a-day, this list below should help you.
Portion size for one of your five-a-day:
- Asparagus – 5 spears
- Broad beans – 3 heaped tbsp
- Lettuce – 1 small bowl
- Peas – 3 heaped 3 tbsp
- Purple sprouting broccoli – 6 stems
- Spinach – 1 small bowl (raw)
- Spring greens – 4 heaped tbsp
- Watercress – 1 small bowl
By June you can expect the following to come into season: aubergines, carrots, courgettes, fennel, peppers, radishes, rhubarb and tomatoes.
Fresh produce in Spring is lighter than hardy winter vegetables. Look for recipes with short cooking times, preferably steam, grilling and stir-frying. If you leave your vegetables al dente (with bite), you won’t cook the goodness out of them, as minerals and antioxidants remain intact. Leaves, peas and beans are best eaten fresh, so try buying them on the day you need them!
Keep your energy levels high for these warmer months and longer days: British and US clocks go forward in March, so promote restful, good quality sleep by enjoying spinach, rocket, lamb’s lettuce and watercress. ‘Super-greens’ are excellent sources of a commonly deficient nutrient – magnesium, a mineral that is key for relaxation and muscle function.
The B group of vitamins helps us convert fuel in our body into energy. This can be found in asparagus, peas and purple sprouting broccoli.
Vitamin C, from fresh strawberries for example helps support our skin’s strength and elasticity. Get your skin ready for the warmer weather, by your intake of the right nutrients.
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