Something that I enjoy doing is going to my local farmers market. There are tons of reasons why (like it's good for the environment, a great way to support local farmers and the prices are unmatched), yet one of the main ones is because of how fresh the produce seems to be; especially during the spring and autumn seasons. Well, since spring is upon us (can you believe it?), I thought that now would be just a good of a time as any to share some of the fruits and veggies that are in season during this time of the year. Specific foods that you should definitely cop because they will be more delicious and filled with more nutrients than any other time which is why eating things when they are in season (whether they are in the store when they are out of season or not) really is the way to go. Are you ready to pull out your grocery list and jot a few of these down? Let's do it.
1. Cherries (May-August)
Without a doubt, one of my favorite fruits is cherries. Well, cherries when they're in season because otherwise, they taste too watery or they feel too mushy. Anyway, as far as health benefits go, cherries are good for you because they contain a good amount of protein, fiber, Vitamin C and potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants as well as having anti-inflammatory properties in them. Not only that, but if you're looking for a fruit that will keep your heart healthy, improve arthritis-related symptoms and fight free radicals that can lead to aging, cherries will have your back in this area too.
Something else that's cool about cherries is, since they have melatonin in them, they are a low-calorie snack that you can enjoy before turning in at night. Also, since they've got the plant compound phytoestrogens in them, cherries are great for menopausal women if you're looking for a natural way to heighten the estrogen levels in your system.
Try This: Northwest Cherry Salsa Recipe
2. Carrots (May-sometimes December)
Whenever I know I'm low in fiber and I want something light to snack on, I'll get some bite-sized carrots. Fiber aside, carrots also have Vitamin B6 and K, potassium, biotin and beta-carotene (an antioxidant that your body converts to Vitamin A). Some awesome things about the health benefits of carrots is they do everything from lower your cholesterol levels and support your eye health to help to keep your skin glowing as they boost your immunity.
Try This: Sauteed Carrots Recipe
3. Mangoes (May-September)
Stringiness aside, hands down, one of my favorite fruits are mangoes. And yes, I can definitely tell the difference between what one is like when I have it in season and when I attempt to eat one out of season (the latter? Please avoid it at all costs). It's kind of crazy how something so sweet can be filled with so many different nutrients yet mangoes are a really good source of fiber, protein, Vitamin C, copper and folate. Mangoes also have vitamins A, B5, E, K, potassium, manganese and magnesium in them. Thanks to they're antioxidants, this is another food that is great for your immune system. The Vitamin C in them will help you to produce collagen which gives your hair and skin more "bounce" and youthfulness. Since mangoes contain a prebotic fiber, they're good for your gut health and, if you happen to be diabetic, this fruit is one you can enjoy without any fear or guilt because its average glycemic index is somewhere around 51. 51 and lower are a glycemic food that diabetics are typically able to eat.
Try This: Thai Mango Salad Recipe
4. Scallions (Late March-August)
Scallions are a vegetable that come from the allium (onions, garlic, shallot, leeks, chives) family. If you've never had them before, they basically taste like onions except much milder. Scallions contain protein, plant fiber, folate, vitamins A, B, C and E. If you're looking for the kind of food that will strengthen your heart, improve your bone health, lessen period discomfort and even hinder the growth of cancer cells, look no further than this veggie that is at its peak during the spring season.
Try This: Chinese Scallion Pancake Recipe
5. Pineapples (March-July)
When it comes to Vitamin C's RDI (recommended dietary intake) in pineapples, it really is off the charts. You can get a whopping 131 percent with each serving. Pineapples also have 76 percent of the manganese that your system needs along with fiber, protein and respectable amounts of Vitamin B, folate, potassium and magnesium. The antioxidants in pineapples have a great reputation for reducing oxidative stress. They're digestive enzymes can make digesting food a lot easier on your body. Believe it or not, pineapples can fight bodily inflammation (including arthritis thanks to the protein-digesting enzyme bromelain that's in it) and they're an immune-boosting fruit that totally has your back, if you're looking for something delicious that can actually help you to lose weight.
Try This: Grill-Roasted Pineapple Recipe
6. Artichokes (March-May)
I'm assuming that the way most of us are familiar with artichokes is spinach and artichoke dip. Well, every time you indulge in some, you're taking in a ton of fiber and protein, for starters. Artichokes are also a veggie that have vitamins C and K, folate, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron in them. If you're looking for a food that will help to lower your cholesterol levels while also helping to regulate your blood pressure, artichokes can totally make that happen.
Something else that's great about this vegetable is the antioxidants cynarin and silymarin are beneficial in boosting the health of your liver (which is always a good thing). If you've got IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), artichokes can bring you some relief. They also contain cancer-fighting properties and the folate that's in them can reduce the inflammation that is associated with allergies.
Try This: Roasted Artichokes Recipe
7. Apricots (May-July)
Did you know that the other name for apricots is Armenian plums? They're a fruit that are smaller than a peach and tastes a lot like a plum. Anyway, vitamins A, C and E, as well as potassium, calcium, beta carotene, fiber and protein are what apricots are a pretty good source of. If you want a type of food that will protect your skin from damaging sun rays, will promote good gut health, has non-heme iron in it (iron that comes from plant-based foods), strengthens bones and boosts your metabolism, bite into an apricot. You won't regret it.
Try This: Apricot Lemon Iced Tea Recipe
8. Peas (April)
Peas and rice are bomb. And while a lot of us tend to get peas from a can, they do taste different when they are fresh, in season and still in the pod (via your produce section). Peas are a good source of zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, B, C and E as well as antioxidants, iron and phytonutrients (plant chemical compounds). They're great for your health because the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are good for your eyes, plus they help to regulate blood sugar levels. Not only that but the nutrient coumestrol can protect you from getting stomach cancer and, if you're looking to increase your man's sperm motility, peas are down for doing that too (if they're snow peas, that is).
Try This: Green Pea Dip Recipe
9. Strawberries (April-June)
I'm gonna be honest. Something that irks the mess outta me is to see strawberries in the produce section year-round. I don't care if the national strawberry season is supposedly every month but December or not, I'm rocking with the deep south farmers who say your best bet is to get them spring through summer (you can definitely taste the difference—big time!).
One reason why I think it's fitting that strawberries are at their best during the warmer months is because they contain 91 percent water, so they can definitely keep you well-hydrated. This is a fruit that also has fiber, antioxidants, manganese, folate and potassium in them. Snack on some if you want to protect yourself from heart disease, regulate your blood sugar, boost your immunity, improve your vision, reduce inflammation, strengthen your immunity or keep the elastin in your skin longer.
Try This: Ricotta and Strawberry Toast Recipe
10. Dandelion Greens (March-June)
While virtually all dark leafy greens are good for you, various ones are at their best during different times of the year. Take dandelion greens, for example. Spring is when you can get the most potent combination of its vitamins A, B, C, E and K, along with iron, calcium, fiber, magnesium and antioxidants. The bioactive compounds in these kinds of greens will help to reduce bodily inflammation, its chicoric and chlorogenic acids will help to keep your blood sugar levels under control, plus dandelion greens contain other properties that help to reduce cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, keep your liver healthy, support healthy digestion, keep you regular and protect your skin from sun damage. So, if you want to try a different kind of greens than spinach, kale or collards, consider dandelion. It will literally do your body good.
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