Metabolic Dysfunction

We have approximately 30 trillion cells that need energy to function. We have to convert food to ATP – a type of energy that can be used in our cells. When that conversion is not going well, we don’t produce energy in our cells the way we are supposed to, thus leading to cellular dysfunction. Cellular dysfunction then leads to tissue dysfunction and organ dysfunction. Organ dysfunction can then show up as various symptoms: heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia, cancer, chronic kidney/liver diseases, depression, and brain fog, to name a few. 

Metabolic dysfunction, the energy deficit or lack of good energy production in the cells, can be caused by insulin resistance. This sends us back to optimizing our lifestyle as much as possible and staying away from foods that raise our blood sugar too much. As mentioned in the previous post, even low-glycemic foods can still impact some people’s glucose responses to a greater degree, so it is up to you to progressively figure out which foods work best with your biology. 

What follows is a basic list of foods (eggs and dairy, meat and fish, baked-good ingredients, pasta, oils, fats, and sauces) that will help you better control your blood sugar levels.

Eggs and Dairy

When you want to buy dairy products, go for pasture-raised/grass-fed or organic dairy. If you consume dairy alternatives, skip the sweetened varieties and oat milk.

  • Eggs (go for pasture-raised or organic)
  • Kefir
  • Greek-style full-fat yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Sour cream
  • Unsweetened nut and seed milks (excluding oat or rice milk) 
  • Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (excluding oat)

Meat and Fish

When buying animal products, look for local, pastured, and 100% grass-fed. Next would be USDA-certified organic, such as with:

  •  Beef
  • Lamb
  • Game meats

For seafood, preferably buy wild-caught, small fish, such as:

  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Salmon

Baked-Good Ingredients

When baking, swap in these alternative flours and sweeteners for refined wheat flours and traditional sugars. As a side note, dark chocolate should be 85-88% or higher, even as a snack.

  • Almond flour 
  • Coconut flour
  • Monk Fruit 
  • Stevia
  • Allulose 

Pasta

White-flour pasta is an ultra-processed food so buy one of these alternatives instead:

  • Zucchini noodles
  • Konjac noodles
  • Hearts of palm pasta
  • Chickpea or lentil pasta (on occasion)

Oils, Fats, and Sauces

As mentioned in The 10 “Primal-Approved Fats and Oils,” you should bypass traditional vegetable/seed oils (canola, corn, soy, safflower, sunflower). These vegetable/seed oils are easily damaged by exposure to light, heat, oxygen, without even mentioning cooking itself. 

  • Tahini
  • Nut butters
  • Aioli
  • Guacamole
  • Pesto
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • MCT oil

On a Final Note

Embracing a low-carb lifestyle is not as challenging as it may appear at first. So many alternative products are available now. Just a few swaps and you can still enjoy your favorite recipes!

Until next time!

References

The Levels Team. “110 Foods Unlikely to Spike Your Blood Sugar.” Levels, 25 May 2021, http://www.levelshealth.com/blog/here-are-foods-unlikely-to-spike-your-blood-sugar. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

“The Secret to Longevity, Reversing Disease and Optimizing Health: Fixing Metabolism with Dr. Casey Means | the Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyman, M.D.” Shows.acast.com, 11 Aug. 2021, shows.acast.com/the-doctors-farmacy/episodes/the-secret-to-longevity-reversing-disease-and-optimal-health. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

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Metabolic Health

Our metabolism, which refers to how well we produce energy in the body (among other things), requires proper functioning and cellular biology in order to maintain health. Metabolic health can also be defined as the absence of any of the following markers: elevated fasting blood glucose, high blood pressure, excess waistline measurement, high triglycerides, and low HDL.

As we realize more and more that keeping our blood sugar levels stable can be key to maintaining metabolic health, it becomes important to familiarize ourselves with the foods that do not raise our blood sugar significantly. These low-glycemic foods can still impact some people’s glucose responses to a greater degree, so it is up to you to progressively figure out which foods work best with your biology. What follows is a basic list of foods (vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds), that will help you better control your blood sugar levels.

Vegetables

Root vegetables (even though healthy and better than grains for many) may raise blood sugar slightly more. See how your body responds when eating them.

  • Artichoke
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Celery root
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce of all varieties
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Rapini (broccoli raab)
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabaga
  • Snow peas and snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Turnip greens
  • Zucchini

Fruits

Berries are the ideal low-glycemic fruit. Portion-size matters of course. Also, eating fruits along with nut butters or seeds, for instance, will help lessen the blood-sugar spike from fruits.

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Coconut
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Kiwi

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are awesome snacks providing fat, protein, and micronutrients, whether you are on the go or not.

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

In Summary

If we manage to stabilize our blood sugar levels and keep them in the optimum range throughout our lifetime, this may be the simplest way to maintain health and wellness, have longevity, and feel good all along!

Until next time!

References

The Levels Team. “110 Foods Unlikely to Spike Your Blood Sugar.” Levels, 25 May 2021, http://www.levelshealth.com/blog/here-are-foods-unlikely-to-spike-your-blood-sugar. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

“The Secret to Longevity, Reversing Disease and Optimizing Health: Fixing Metabolism with Dr. Casey Means | the Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyman, M.D.” Shows.acast.com, 11 Aug. 2021, shows.acast.com/the-doctors-farmacy/episodes/the-secret-to-longevity-reversing-disease-and-optimal-health. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

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Gratitude

Mary Davis stated: “The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” Indeed, the more you practice gratitude, the more you are going to automatically have a positive outlook on life instead of entertaining a negative worldview. It’s about focusing on the goodness that is already present in your life as opposed to longing for what you don’t have. Gratitude rewires the brain. This well-being triggered by feeling grateful, thankful, and therefore happier can allow you to be stronger and more resilient at the same time.

It’s about celebrating little things (and bigger ones too of course) and making a daily practice of it. Just a few minutes of self-introspection each day can go a long way. Practicing gratitude is a powerful way to strengthen the parts of your brain that are linked to positive thinking. 

Journaling

One option is to write down 3 things you are grateful for in the morning, and to repeat that at night before going to bed (or at the dinner table as a family). 

You can also do this just once a day, in the morning or evening, whatever works best with your schedule. If in the morning, it can be part of a new morning routine, whether you are an early riser or not. If at night, this can actually help you de-stress from the day’s usual ups and downs.

Another option is the one described by Tim Ferriss in Tools of Titans: The 5-Minute Journal (5MJ), which I find very introspective. 

– In the morning, you want to answer the following prompts:

  • I am grateful for…1._______ 2._______ 3._______
  • What would make today great? 1._______ 2._______ 3._______
  • Daily affirmations. I am…1._______ 2._______ 3._______

– In the evening, you want to reflect on the day:

  • 3 amazing things that happened today…1._______ 2._______ 3._______
  • How could I have made today better? 1._______ 2._______ 3._______

Examples of Gratitudes

When you write down what you are grateful for each day, it is better not to repeat the same things over and over. Going on autopilot is not the purpose of this practice. Find simple things around you, within sights, like passing a beautiful bird on your way to work, enjoying a delicious cup of coffee, or witnessing a happy event. It can be finally completing a project that you are proud of or being thankful for a special moment with your child, reading a book at bedtime. You can be grateful for an old relationship that was dear to you or for the opportunity you have to call someone you haven’t chatted with in a long time. The list can be endless.

And if some days are not perfect in taking the time to count your blessings in writing, it’s okay. Just pick right back up the next day where you left off. Making it a habit to see the good that surrounds you will help you deal with challenges on a whole new level.

Did you get your notebook yet?

Until next time!

References

Asprey, Dave. “Use Gratitude to Rewire Your Brain.” Dave Asprey, 28 Nov. 2019, daveasprey.com/use-gratitude-to-rewire-your-brain/. Accessed 14 Aug. 2021.

Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans : The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017, pp. 143–48.

Lipman, Frank MD. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 232-33.

You can also find me on Instagram.

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Early Risers

Do you ever long to be one of those people who wakes up early enough to have the time to exercise, have a nice breakfast, and get a head start on the day? How about feeling more proactive and more productive right from the get-go? Of course, both genetics and lifestyle impact our circadian rhythms. Giving myself ample time to start the day is something that I apply myself to cultivate on a daily basis. For the longest time, I didn’t see myself as a morning person, per se, but I now realize that by tweaking just a few things, this can actually change. Six simple strategies can be used in order to enjoy seeing the sunrise every day if you wish!

Progressively Modify Your Wake Time

Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your desired wake-up time. Keep that same time on the weekends too to better reinforce this new habit.

Plan Something You Love Doing

Start the day with something you are really looking forward to like a delicious cup of coffee or tea, a morning yoga routine, or a sitting meditation session. It can easily be 20 minutes of “me time.”

Let the Light In

Let the light in as soon as you wake up by opening the curtains/blinds and turning on some lights if it is still dark. Light directly impacts our internal clock. Even better, go outside between 2 and 10 minutes within half an hour of your wake-up time, if possible. Even on a cloudy day, we are exposed to a whole lot more light outside than if we stay indoors under bright lights. You can get a free “lightmeter” app to check this out!

Eat at Regular Times

Along with daylight exposure, eating at regular times helps establish and maintain a normal circadian rhythm. Eat breakfast when you wake up, lunch at approximately the same time each day, and dinner no later than 7:00 p.m. (2-3 hours before bedtime).

Exercise 

Exercise is another wonderful cue for circadian rhythm alignment or reset. Exercising in the morning stimulates the brain and body by increasing blood flow. Exercise has been shown to lead to improved memory recall, focus, and cognition. Exercising outside, enjoying the natural outdoor light is even better of course to feel fully awake!

Go to Bed Earlier

In order to wake up earlier full of energy, you need to go to bed earlier too. As mentioned in 5 Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep, turning down the lights at night, avoiding exercising near bedtime, and not drinking coffee late in the day are three important steps to follow. Deep breathing exercises can help you de-stress at the end of the day. Avoiding digital devices at least an hour before bedtime is also highly recommended as those will keep you engaged when it’s time to wind down.

Sooner than you think, chances are, you will wake up ready to take on the day like never before!

Until next time!

Reference

Henderson, Kim. “6 Simple Ways to Become an Early Riser.” Brain Health Blog | BrainMD | Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., 11 Nov. 2020, brainmd.com/blog/6-simple-ways-to-become-an-early-riser. Accessed 31 July 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

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Joint Health

In my last blog post, I shared a few simple strategies to maintain joint health. Sitting less, walking more, going barefoot whenever possible, stretching and foam rolling are all inexpensive ways to take care of your joints for the years to come. It is also important to know that certain foods can help keep cartilage, tendons, and ligaments strong and healthy. What follows is a list of foods beneficial to the joints and easy to have on hand.

Bone Broth

Bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a healing beverage by traditional cultures. This collagen-rich brew offers numerous joint-healthy ingredients: glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur. I love having a cup of bone broth at the end of the day!

Sulfate-Containing Vegetables

Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic, and onions have sulfate, which combines with chondroitin to make cartilage.

Bioflavonoids

Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, acai berries, cinnamon, red cabbage and onions all have anthocyanidins that help boost the connective tissue in joints by forming links between collagen fibers. Berries are such a great addition to smoothies!

Zinc-Containing Foods

Zinc is a mineral needed for the production of connective tissue. Grass-fed beef, lamb, oysters, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds offer high doses of it.

Copper-Containing Foods

Copper is a mineral needed for the maturation of collagen. Copper can be found in avocados, cacao, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews, for instance.

In Summary

Most of these joint-healthy foods can be consumed every day as simple snack options. They can be part of a balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. Nourishing and supporting your joints has never been easier!

Until next time!

Reference

Axe, Josh. “5 Foods for Your Joints That Will Nourish Your Connective Tissue.” Dr. Axe, 18 Jan. 2020, draxe.com/nutrition/foods-for-your-joints/. Accessed 17 July 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

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Healthy Joints and Movement

As we get older, we realize the importance of having resilient, healthy joints, whatever we are doing, exercise or simple everyday activities. Humans are meant to move. We are designed to use the hundreds of joints and muscles that make up our biology. We want to shape our daily life so that it is as similar as possible to how it was during hunter-gatherer times. And when it comes to movement, it has to be varied motion throughout the day. If we do not structure our days around movement the way evolution intended (or planned), that’s when we can most likely end up with tight muscles, brittle joints, and cartilage starting to wear thin.

If you experience knee stiffness or joint discomfort, it is good to know that some simple strategies can help. What follows are 4 easy tips to help you maintain strong, flexible joints.

Sit Less

When you sit, it reduces blood flow, which means the joints benefit from fewer nutrients. Sitting also allows for tendons and ligaments to shorten – an added stressor on the joints. As mentioned in Why Everyday Movement is Non-Negotiable, when you have to sit for long periods of time, such as when working at a computer, every 30 minutes or so, you want to get up, stretch, and walk a little bit. The same goes if you are at a standing workstation. You want to incorporate movement throughout the day to nourish your cells. A few squats or other simple exercises can be nice little breaks throughout the day.

Walk More

When you walk, it compresses and decompresses the ankle and knee joints. This sends nutrients to the cartilage that help keep it elastic. When you walk, it also enhances the production of synovial fluid (an egg-white-like substance) that helps keep the joints lubricated.

Taking short walks in the morning, at lunch, or after dinner, whenever you have a few minutes can be a great addition to your daily movement regimen. You can take the stairs more often and/or go on a hike with your dog, or with some friends. Whatever fits your schedule best to keep your body strong.

Go Barefoot (or Wear Minimalist Shoes)

When you wear cushioned heels, it shortens the Achilles tendon and modifies the alignment of the ankles. As mentioned in a previous post, you should progressively allow some barefoot time for low-risk activities to strengthen feet and replicate natural range of motion. Opt for shoes with minimalist design (like Vibram FiveFingers, Nike Free, Merrell, Inov-8, etc.), but make sure you go from a regular 8mm shoe (to maybe a 4mm shoe) to a zero-drop shoe gradually in order to give your body enough time to adjust.

Stretch and Roll Out Your Muscles

Going from cold muscles, say, right to CrossFit, puts great stress on the tendons and ligaments. You want to take the time to do some dynamic stretching before exercising and some static stretching afterward (as the latter weakens muscles temporarily). 

Using a foam roller is another great option. As mentioned in Why Foam Rolling, before a workout, you would foam roll at a fast/rapid rate, targeting a light to moderate depth. This gets your muscles ready to work hard and it up-regulates the nervous system.

After a workout, you should foam roll at a slow rate, targeting a moderate to deep depth. This is a nice way to recover and calm the nervous system.

In Summary

As you can see, 4 easy strategies can go a long way in helping you maintain joint health. Staying active is the main thing. Enough movement throughout the day (along with other variables) is necessary to ensure proper cellular health. Enough daily physical activity can help with joint stiffness and strengthens the muscles surrounding the joints. Sitting less, walking more, going barefoot whenever possible, stretching and foam rolling are all inexpensive ways to take care of your joints for the years to come.

Until next time!

References

Asprey, Dave. “6 Simple Habits to Build Stronger Joints.” Dave Asprey, 27 Jan. 2017, daveasprey.com/6-simple-habits-build-stronger-joints/. Accessed 4 July 2021.

“Simple Tips for Healthy Joints.” Ancient Nutrition Newsletter, info@emails.draxe.com, 4 June 2021. Accessed 4 July 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Dark Chocolate

Did you know that the Latin name for chocolate, Theobroma Cacao, means “Food of the Gods?” While some types of chocolate offer many health benefits with their antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, it is important to note that most processed, highly sweetened chocolates are not beneficial. If you switch (just like I did when I started eating Paleo) from consuming milk chocolate and white chocolate to at least 75% dark chocolate, you will most likely reap many of the benefits that chocolate has to offer. The health benefits of this high-fiber food are impressive. Check this out!

Defense Against Disease-Causing Free Radicals

The antioxidants in high-cacao content chocolate are believed to help against free radicals (those harmful compounds generated by cellular processes in the body). Those antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, are helping against inflammation and disease. Chocolate may even be a possible cancer-fighting food.

Enhanced Heart Health

Flavanols (a type of flavonoids) in chocolate help with heart health by lowering blood pressure, boosting blood flow to the heart and brain, and possibly preventing blood platelets from clotting (lessening the risk of stroke).

Helps With Overall Cholesterol Profile

With its healthy fats and polyphenols, the cocoa butter in chocolate helps with bettering lipid profiles, lessening platelet reactivity, and lowering inflammation.

Improved Cognitive Function 

Flavonoid-rich foods like dark chocolate can help with improved brain function and enhanced cognitive performance by boosting blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate is also a possible vision booster.

Antioxidant-Rich Superfood

It has been shown that dark chocolate’s antioxidant capacity and total polyphenol content are superior to those of all superfruit juices, except for pomegranates.

Beneficial to Skin Health

Due to its flavanol content, dark chocolate can help protect against sun damage, lessen skin roughness, boost hydration, and enhance blood flow to the skin.

Did you get your square of dark chocolate today? 

Until next time!

Reference

Annie Price, CHHC. “9 Awesome Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate.” Dr. Axe, 28 Nov. 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/benefits-of-dark-chocolate/. Accessed 20 June 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Sleep Quality

As mentioned in a previous post, consistent good-quality sleep is needed for your body to repair and your brain to clean itself of toxins. Tracking your sleep quality can bring you one step closer to a more restful night.

I have been using an Oura ring since last December. It is an awesome device that uses infrared light sensors to track different variables such as resting heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, movement, and sleep. Each day, you get three scores from the data collected: readiness (how well you may be able to perform today), sleep quality, and physical activity (number of steps, calories burned, etc.). You also get recommendations regarding your bedtime routine, which I find very helpful.

To this, you can add more strategies such as the following ones:

Turn Down the Lights

Do your best to avoid blue and bright lights (especially overhead lights) at least half an hour before bedtime for optimal melatonin production.

Don’t Exercise Near Bedtime

Exercise elevates cortisol levels that interfere with sleep. So it is best to avoid exercising at least two hours before bedtime. Restorative yoga or breathing exercises are great alternatives.

Don’t Drink Coffee in the Evening

Your mind needs to wind down at the end of the day, so it is best to drink coffee earlier in the day and probably not after 2 p.m. for most people.

Bring Down the Stress

Being able to clear your mind and stop worrying is essential to getting restful sleep. Deep breathing exercises might be the best tool to help your brain shut down (check out The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown).

In Summary

For a better night’s sleep, tracking your sleep with an Oura ring or an app like SleepCycle is a good first step. Turning down the lights at night, avoiding exercising near bedtime, and not drinking coffee late in the day are three other important strategies. Last, deep breathing exercises can help you de-stress at the end of the day. For more helpful tips to get adequate sleep, check out 3 Things to Prioritize on Your Quest to Feeling Better!

Until next time!

Reference

Asprey, Dave. “9 Ways To Sleep Better And Wake Up Feeling Like A New Person.” Dave Asprey Email, 3 June 2021, superhuman@daveasprey.com. Bulletproof Media. Accessed 10 June 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Restorative Strategies

What are you going to do this weekend? How about implementing a new strategy to de-stress like never before? Almost a year ago I mentioned how to use your breathing to help you unwind. Belly breathing, box breathing, and the 4-7-8 breathing are great options for relaxing on the spot. Exercise is definitely at the top of the list too. As explained in my previous post, you want to “build your day around movement.” You want to make sure you are engaging in regular physical activity throughout the day, each day.

So, here are 5 more restorative strategies (as defined in Ancient Remedies by Dr. Josh Axe) that you may find just right for you to start implementing:

Walking in Nature

If you immerse yourself in nature, be it a nearby park, a forest, or a body of water, it can help lower stress, enhance your mood, boost creativity, and even strengthen your immune system. This is a popular way to de-stress in Japan, where it is known as “forest bathing.” Immersing yourself in nature releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. Positive thinking and gratitude are sure to follow.

Relaxation and Downtime

To avoid burnout, you need to build calming and relaxing breaks into your day. At lunch, go outside and sit peacefully on a bench, just enjoying the present moment. Nothing else to keep your mind busy. And letting your mind wander relieves stress and promotes creative problem-solving. At night, read a book, knit in a quiet place, play an instrument, or listen to music you love, for instance.

Digital Fasting

Technology use has been associated with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. So do your best to implement a digital or social media fast every now and then, be it for an hour, a day, a weekend, or a week. This will allow your brain and body to enjoy a little restorative break and put you in a nice relaxing state.

Grounding and Earthing

Grounding yourself is to connect physically to the earth which emits electric charges that have a beneficial effect on the body. When you walk barefoot outside, lie on the grass or the beach, or swim in a lake or ocean, this promotes a number of benefits: increased red blood cell fluidity, decreased muscle pain after exercise, and lowered stress, depression, and fatigue.

Rain, Ocean, and Other Nature Sounds

Nature sounds have a tendency to give rise to a relaxing, parasympathetic nervous system response, and help with lessening heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. The sounds of streams, birdsong, and fountains enhance cognitive performance, for example. So pick a playlist, app, or find a YouTube video that offers nature sounds and enjoy these whenever you get a chance.

Which strategy will you try this weekend? 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

You can also find me on Instagram.

Reference
Axe, Josh. Ancient Remedies : Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History. New York, Little, Brown Spark, Feb. 2021, pp. 176-183.

A Wider Range of Vegetables

Time to grow our own garden again and/or shop at farmers markets!  We can finally start to enjoy a wider range of vegetables. Depending on where you live, the spring vegetables available may differ. If you are not sure what the best in-season picks may be, a helpful seasonal food guide can be downloaded at foodprint.org. With that said, here’s a list of 7 fantastic spring vegetables.

Artichokes

Artichokes have a high antioxidant content (which may help prevent cancer); they are high in vitamins C, and K, iron and other essential minerals, and high in fiber and phytonutrients. Consuming artichokes may help fight cardiovascular disease, detox the liver and the digestive system, control blood sugar and diabetes, and may help with metabolic syndrome too. Artichokes taste better cooked: steamed, boiled, grilled, baked, or roasted.

Asparagus 

Asparagus offers many essential nutrients, including vitamins K and A, folate, iron, copper, and B vitamins, plus antioxidants and certain amino acids. It is a good source of fiber too. Asparagus helps support heart health and skin health and may help with fighting cancer too. Asparagus can be roasted, blanched, baked, grilled, or sauteed.

Avocados

Avocados are high in fiber, vitamins K and C, folate, potassium, and healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados may help with heart health, lower blood sugar levels, support eye health, enhance digestive health, and may help lower inflammation, among other things. Avocados are great as a snack, in salads, or smoothies.

Celeriac

Celeriac, a  root vegetable, is high in fiber, vitamins K and C, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. Celeriac may help improve digestive health, blood sugar control, fight free radicals, and may help support stronger bones too. Celeriac can be eaten raw or cooked. You can add it to salads, slaws, or make veggie chips or fries with it, for instance.

Fennel

Fennel is high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Fennel also contains vitamins A, B6, K, and folate, plus iron, calcium, copper, zinc, and selenium. Fennel may help support cardiovascular health, improve skin and eye health, and boost digestion and bone health. It may also help with inflammation and with preventing cancer. The whole plant can be eaten (bulb, leaves, and seeds). With its unique licorice-like flavoring, fennel can be added to salads, slaws, and other dishes.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens, which are from the same plant we get mustard seeds from, have high levels of antioxidants. Packed with phytonutrients, mustard greens are also high in fiber, vitamins K, A, and C, plus folate, calcium, and potassium. Mustard greens may help with liver function, eye and skin health. They can help better digestion and may help prevent cancer and heart disease, for instance. With their spicy taste, these antioxidant-rich greens can be included in salads, soups, sauteed, or even juiced with other vegetables.

Watercress

Watercress is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable, high in antioxidants, fiber, calcium, vitamins A, K, and C. Watercress may help with lowering blood pressure, lessening inflammation, and could help with certain types of cancer. It may help with bone health, vision, hair, skin, and nails. This powerhouse veggie can be added to salads, soups, stir-fries, casseroles, and sandwiches.

All you have to do now is include these delicious vegetables in your favorite recipes!

Until next time!

References:

Levy, Jillian. “7 Reasons to Eat Artichokes.” Dr. Axe, 24 July 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/artichokes/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “Asparagus Nutrition, Health Benefits, Risks and Recipes.” Dr. Axe, 19 Aug. 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/asparagus-nutrition/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “The Antioxidant Greens That Support the Eyes, Bones and More.” Dr. Axe, 24 Aug. 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/mustard-greens-nutrition/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Link, Rachael. “Calories in Avocado: Nutrition Facts and Diet Advice.” Dr. Axe, 14 Mar. 2020, draxe.com/nutrition/avocado-calories/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “Can Watercress Fight Cancer?” Dr. Axe, 9 Jan. 2020, draxe.com/nutrition/watercress/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “The Low-Calorie, Low-Carb Root Vegetable That Benefits the Gut.” Dr. Axe, 23 Nov. 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/celeriac/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Ruggeri, Christine. “What Is Fennel? Benefits, Nutrition, Uses and Recipes.” Dr. Axe, 16 Dec. 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/fennel-benefits/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

“Top 10 Spring Vegetables.” Mark’s Daily Apple, 25 Mar. 2008, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/spring-vegetables/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.