With warm weather upon us, a whole new crop of fruits and vegetables are in season. “Fruits and vegetables have the highest nutrient content when they are in season,” says health and fitness expert, Traci D. Mitchell. “Making produce selections based on what’s in season is a great way to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants.”
Here are Mitchell’s top ten produce picks for spring. Make sure to try them all before they go out of season!
Great source of fiber and vitamin C. Fat free, cholesterol free, low sodium and low calorie. Make sure to choose an artichoke with a large head and tightly closed leaves. Artichokes can help improve liver and gallbladder function.
High in vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Naturally fat free, cholesterol free and low sodium. Make sure to check for fennel with a firm bulb and unblemished green leaves. Fennel helps naturally treat respiratory disorders.
Mango is high in Vitamin A and C. Low fat, and cholesterol free. To choose a ripe mango, make sure it is slightly firm with a little give and emits a strong sweet scent. Mangoes improve digestion and help treat diabetes.
Fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free and low calorie. Asparagus is a great source of vitamin C and A, and is a natural prebiotic (naturally nourishes the good bacteria in your body).
Great source of Vitamin C. Fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free. Choose a bunch of strawberries with a shiny bright red exterior. Make sure to avoid leaky or shriveled strawberries. Strawberries are a natural anti-inflammatory.
Naturally high in fiber, iron (improves energy), magnesium (helps keep bones strong) and vitamins C and A. Fat free, cholesterol free, and low calorie. Choose full, crisp green bunches of spinach. Spinach helps keep good eyesight.
7. Fava Beans
Fava beans are a natural source of iron, potassium (reduces the risk of high blood pressure and stroke), fiber and Vitamin B. Low fat and cholesterol free. Fava beans look similar to large green beans. Make sure to choose long, plump, heavy pods without blemishes. Fava beans are nutrient-rich and high in protein.
Great source of Vitamin C. Naturally fat free, low sodium and cholesterol free. Select a honeydew melon with a spherical shape and a waxy exterior. Avoid one with a fuzzy surface. One serving of honeydew can give us up to 70% of our daily vitamin C.
High in Vitamin A and C, potassium and fiber. A great low fat, cholesterol free and sodium free snack. Make sure to choose apricots that are uniformly colored, firm and plump. Apricots naturally help regulate the body’s digestive system.
Good source of vitamin C. Naturally fat free, low sodium and cholesterol free. Choose a heavy pineapple with dark green leaves. Avoid one with dark or soft spots. Pineapple’s anti-oxidants help enhance the bodies natural healing processes.
Traci D. Mitchell is a Chicago-based writer, speaker, blogger and personal trainer who specializes in functional fitness and body-specific diets.