Spring is a prosperous time that many people yearn for soon after Christmas, and spring fruits are one of the best parts of spring. Depending on where you live, winter can be cold, dark and bleak, and we can’t wait for warmer mornings and later sunsets.
Nature puts on a great show in the springtime. After a long winter, hibernating animals begin waking up. Birds return to where they came from, finishing up their yearly migration. Plants that have been dormant for the past six months start to flower, inviting bees to pollinate so they can produce rich, colorful fruits.
Fruit is nature’s candy. Spring fruits carry an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They’re high in fibre, and they’re a great source of healthy carbohydrates. Some of the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits includes lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, lowered risk of developing cancer, and reduced instances of inflammation. Dietary experts recommend getting at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
Getting your five servings of fruits per day should be easy enough, since fruit comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes – each with its own distinct flavor profile. While most if not all fruits are good for you, some fruits have more health benefits than others.
A great way to reap all the benefits that spring fruits have to offer this season is to eat a wide range of it. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the healthiest fruits that come into season during the springtime:
Rhubarb thrives in the climatic conditions of Canada and the northern parts of the U.S. In fact, it’s one of the first crops to be in season during the spring.
Rhubarb is one of the spring fruits that has a very distinct flavor. Some would describe it as tart or bitter. Most rhubarb recipes rely heavily on the sweetness of sugar or berries to balance it out. Strawberries pair very nicely with rhubarb, such as in this classic strawberry rhubarb pie.
Rhubarb is an excellent source of dietary fibre, which keeps your digestive system running smoothly and lowers cholesterol. Rhubarb is also high in vitamin A and vitamin K. Vitamin A promotes healthy cell division and reproduction and can help ward off the formation of fine lines as we age. It is also good for maintaining vision and can help strengthen your immune system. Vitamin K is an important nutrient for the formation of blood clots and helps strengthen bones. Finally, the antioxidants in rhubarb are effective in lower inflammation.
Berries are not only one of the healthiest fruits out there, but they’re also one of the healthiest foods on the planet. In spite of their sweetness, berries such as strawberries are very low in calories and high in antioxidants. Most berries are praised for their heart-healthy benefits. Strawberries in particular increase good cholesterol and can help to lower your blood pressure.
Strawberries are what comes to mind when many people think of spring fruits. Strawberries are the first members of the berry family to ripen during the springtime. The fresh strawberry season usually begins mid-April and runs until the end of June in moderate climates.
Strawberries are an excellent source of manganese, which helps your body use many of the vitamins it absorbs. Additionally, strawberries are high in potassium, a nutrient essential for muscle function. While your natural reflex might be to reach for an orange during cold and flu season, strawberries actually contain more vitamin C.
These spring berries make an excellent addition to salads and grilled meats. Try adding grilled prawns to this strawberry, pecan and spinach salad for a main course that’s full of vitamins and protein.
Jackfruit trees grow mainly in the tropical and subtropical climates of Asia, parts of Africa and Australia, South America and in the Pacific Islands. In North America, jackfruit trees can grow well enough in southern Florida and on the Hawaiian islands.
Jackfruit has two seasons: the winter crops are ready between April and September, while the springtime crops are harvested by March and the season runs until June.
These spring fruits are a good source of vitamin C and fibre as well as B12, the nutrient that makes DNA and prevents anemia (a blood disorder that causes weakness and fatigue).
Additionally, jackfruit contains manganese, potassium and magnesium, which helps your body carry out many necessary functions: regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure are just a few jobs that magnesium aids in.
Jackfruit also contains copper, a nutrient that many don’t consider to come from food but is an essential component to making energy, connective tissues and maintaining a healthy immune system, among other things.
4. Honeydew Melon
Honeydew melons love warm soil and grow best in hot, dry climates. Their season begins in the spring and usually runs through the summer and into the fall. The honeydew melon is one of the sweetest and tastiest spring fruits, and is not without its health properties.
Melons are high in vitamin C and contain modest amounts of vitamins B6 (which may help improve mood and symptoms of depression) and vitamin K. They are also a good source of fibre. Melons are high in folate, the natural form of vitamin B9, which aids in the production of healthy red blood cells and fetal development.
Furthermore, eating melons is a great way to stay hydrated. They are nearly 90% water, but they also contain many electrolytes, specifically potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. Your body needs electrolytes as well as water to stay properly hydrated. They work by sending water and nutrients to where they’re needed.
Try snacking on some sliced honeydew melon after your next workout to rehydrate and replenish those electrolytes. Alternatively, freeze them in cubes to add to a protein smoothie.
Delicious, ruby red cherries are an excellent snack during the warmer, later days of spring. They grow from trees and come in a wide variety of colors and flavors. Some cherries are sweet, some are tart, and others are downright sour. However, all types of cherries are very healthy for you.
Cherries are one of the top healthiest spring fruits because they are effective anti-inflammatories. It has been suggested that cherries can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis, including gout, a painful and sometimes chronic condition affecting the joints, usually in the big toe.
Not only that, the high levels of antioxidants in cherries may be helpful in combating the consequences of oxidative stress. Cherries also contain melatonin, a hormone that your body naturally produces at the end of the day as it prepares for sleep, but some people need to take in the form of a supplement to get a good night’s sleep. A study done back in 2011 looked at the effects tart cherry juice had on participants and found that “total melatonin content was significantly elevated in the cherry juice group, whilst no differences were shown between baseline and placebo trials”.
So there you have it, now all that’s left to do is wait for fresh spring fruits to hit the stands at your local market. In the meantime, if you’re trying to eat healthier, you can design a meal plan based on what your body responds best to.
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