Three of the Best Spring Veggies

 

Spring is glorious for all sorts of reasons. First and foremost: winter is over. So “yay!” to that. But also, more specifically focused on fitness, the warmer season opens up a new realm of dietary possibilities. Whereas the colder months of winter tend to limit you to heavy soup, stews, and the like, spring offers lighter, healthier, vegetable-centric options.

But, what vegetables are actually in season during the spring months? Are there any that are particularly beneficial? To help you sort through the mass of nutritional advice out there, here is a small list of just three of the best spring veggies that should make regular appearances on your plate.

1 – Watercress

Despite its fairly common use in restaurants around the world, most Americans tend to forget about this nutrient-tense cousin of broccoli. Easily added to salads and other dishes, watercress has a fantastic peppery taste that can deepen the flavor of lots of recipes. More importantly, the leafy green also contains high levels of vitamins K, C, and A. Watercress is also packed with naturally-occurring nitrates, which have been shown in recent years to have a powerful impact on athletic performance.

2 – Pea Shoots

Pea shoots are kind of a funny little vegetable. In reality, they are the young leaves of the pea plant – complete with the little spirally bits – rather than the parts that usually get the attention. Interestingly, these crispy microgreens taste just like peas but offer a touch more flexibility in their usage and differ from the pea fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) slightly in their nutrition.

Specifically, pea shoots can be roasted, thrown into stir-fries or eaten raw. The shoots are also high in fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and folate.

Of course, none of this means that peas themselves aren’t a great dietary option. Indeed they are. The point is: don’t forget about the handy, tasty shoots as well.

3 – Artichokes

Regardless whether you prefer the leaves or the softer, somewhat more appetizing hearts of the artichoke, there are tons of benefits associated with this easy-to-spot vegetable. Like all vegetables, artichokes are a great source of fiber and healthy fats, and they’re also packed with B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

All of this means that the humble artichoke can improve a wide variety of health aspects including cardiovascular health, brain function, digestion, immune response, metabolism and bone health. In fact, according to the USDA, artichokes are one of the best vegetable sources of antioxidants.

So, yeah, artichokes are pretty cool.

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