- STRAWBERRIES: One serving of strawberries packs more Vitamin C than one orange. Strawberries also protect us against heart disease and damage to our skin from UV rays. They have a high content of antioxidants, (ammunition against free radicals that can lead to cancer cells), and can help to raise our HDL, (good cholesterol level). Cut them up to sprinkle over your cereal or oatmeal in the morning, throw them in a smoothie, or just eat them right out of their container.
- PEAS: Peas are one of the most nutritious vegetables! They are loaded with fiber, Vitamins A, C and K. Sprinkle raw peas into salads, toss them in with a pasta dish, or throw them in some of your homemade guacamole!
- APRICOTS: Apricots are underrated! They come packed with Vitamins A, c, K and loaded with fiber and iron. The iron is easily absorbable due to the Vitamin C content, (taking in Vitamin C while getting your iron helps the body absorb the iron more readily). All these benefits for only 17 calories an apricot!
- CAULIFLOWER: Because cauliflower is a "white" vegetable, people don't realize how good it is for us. Cauliflower is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties, and we all could use some of that! Studies have shown this vegetable can protect us against cancers and stroke. Use cauliflower in place of potatoes, cook it, mash it up, and add some Almond milk, salt and pepper....eat until your heart's content. Roast it with some Indian spices and add beans for protein...there's a meal in itself! Or eat it raw..I like to put it in a food processor and pulse it to the consistency of "rice" and add other vegetables to it, with maybe some kind of homemade sauce.
- MUSHROOMS: Dr. Joel Fuhrman tells us to eat mushrooms continually...they are so good for us. They come packed with Vitamins K and some B vitamins. They help to increase our liver function. Of course, add mushrooms to anything....salads, pasta dishes, pasta sauce, pizza topping, soups, stews....the list is endless!
- BOYSENBERRIES: This berry is not as well-known as other berries...it is a cross between a raspberry and blueberry. Boysenberries have been shown to increase our brain power, (we can never be too smart!), are loaded with antioxidants, (more cancer fighting ammunition), and packed with vitamins....all in those little berries.
Of course, there are many other foods that are coming into season this time of the year also. The price of in-season fruits and vegetables typically are less expensive as they are plentiful, so take advantage of this. I always try to buy what's in season and plan your meals around that....we are all trying to stretch a dollar.
As far as berries go, Bob Harper, one of the trainers on the Biggest Loser, tells people to eat berries EVERYDAY. He states that the benefits we get from berries are nothing short of amazing....extremely low in calories, but extremely high in vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. According to Bob, the "best" berry to eat is blueberries..they are loaded with antioxidants.
So, watch for these May Superfoods at farmer's markets, road-side stands and in the grocery stores. If you are not buying organic, (I know they are more expensive, but remember, no toxic pesticides are sprayed on them), make sure you rinse the produce well. If you are buying at local farmer's markets, (my favorite place to buy!), ask if their produce is organic...many farms do practice organic farming but are not actually "certified organic", (the process of being certified requires a lot of red tape so some farms just don't have their "certification" yet). Don't be afraid to ask questions!
The best time of the year is right around the corner....there will soon be an abundance of farm stands selling all kinds of nutritious fruits and vegetables....or, get that garden planted and grow your own organic vegetables, no certification required....the best part is, this food is so LOW in CALORIES, you can eat until your heart's content with absolutely no GUILT...and believe me, your heart, along with the rest of your body, will thank you!