BroccoliSpring is finally here in the Midwest (We are a little nervous about tempting fate with that statement) and that means the beginning of the harvest season. One of the beauties of living in the Midwest is the abundance of fresh produce we get from spring through fall.

Over the next few months a variety of vegetables will be ready for harvest, and we thought it was a good time to talk about a few of our favorites, and some of the benefits they have for our bodies.  Here are 5 vegetables that you should look to eat during the upcoming Spring and Summer harvest period. 

1. Asparagus

Harvest Time: March-June

Asparagus is one of our favorite vegetables and for that matter one of our favorite foods in general.  This green vegetable is very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways in addition to being eaten raw.

One of the great things about Asparagus is the wide variety of essential nutrients it can provide your body. Asparagus can provide your body with the following nutrients

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Vitamin A
  • Thiamin

That is a lot of nutritional value in one vegetable.  We like Asparagus cooked in many different ways, but one of our favorites is to throw a few spears on the grill while enjoying the much needed warmer weather.

 2. Spinach

Harvest Time: March-June

Spinach is great as a side dish, a salad, or an alternative to lettuce on sandwiches. This leafy green is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Spinach provides your body with multiple antioxidants, which some studies have shown may be helpful in fighting off the effects of free radicals in the body.

Along with providing antioxidants, the Vitamin A that Spinach gives your body helps support eye health. Not only does Spinach contain healthy nutrients, but it is very low in calories.

Spinach can be used a variety of ways, but we recommend trying it as a salad or on a sandwich as a healthy alternative to lettuce.

3. Broccoli

Harvest Time: May-July

Broccoli is part of the cauliflower family, and provides the body with many different nutrients.  Broccoli contains a very high amount of Vitamin C, which can help provide a variety of health benefits to the body.

One common nutrient among Broccoli and the previous vegetables is Lutein. By providing the body with Lutein, Broccoli can help support healthy eyes and vision. Along with Lutein and Vitamin C, Broccoli provides the following nutrients:

  • Protein
  • Vitamin A
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6

Broccoli is one of our favorite side vegetables, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. One of our favorite methods is to oven roast it and top it with fresh lemon juice and cracked pepper.

4. Brussels Sprouts

Harvest Time: May-June

We feel that Brussels Sprouts get a bad rap. These sprouts are a great nutritional source, and when cooked properly, a great addition to your meal. Brussels Sprouts are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Fiber, and Vitamin B-6.

Along with being a good source of Fiber, Brussels Sprouts also are a good source of antioxidants, protein and potassium.

Although Brussels Sprouts tend to get a bad rap, they are a very tasty, and healthy, vegetable when prepared properly. We generally like roasted Brussels Sprouts seasoned with garlic and pepper.

 5. Cucumbers

Harvest Time: May-October

Cucumbers seem to go hand in hand with warmer weather, and are as nutritious as they are delicious.  Cucumbers have been the subject of many research studies including their potential effects on aging, cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

While research is still ongoing on these potential benefits, Cucumbers are known to provide a variety of essential nutrients including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Cucumbers can be pickled or cooked, but we prefer them raw as part of a salad or by themselves.

Vegetables are Tasty and Good for You

Spring is finally upon us, and fresh vegetables are one of the many perk that comes with it. With the harvest season for many vegetables approaching, take this opportunity to try new dishes. Not only will you find different recipes or snacks that you like, but you will also be providing your body with great nutritional benefits at the same time.

 

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