As spring fever gives way to rising temperatures, nature’s new blooms and crops fill our markets with an abundance of seasonal produce. Come out of hibernation and take advantage of the bounty of this season’s super-foods that will boost your energy and reduce your waistline!
Weigh Less with Watercress
Don’t underestimate these small, leafy greens the next time you hit the grocery store! Watercress has been linked to a reduction of DNA damage caused by free radicals, and a reduction in blood triglycerides. As a member of the cabbage family, watercress boasts an incredible nutrient profile that includes vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and the potent flavonoid, quercetin, which serves as a natural anti-inflammatory. A natural diuretic, watercress can draw excess fluid from your body, which can help you fit into your new spring wardrobe.
Antioxidant Boost with Apricots
You may be familiar with dried apricots, which are available all year round. However, once the sun starts shining longer, fresh apricots will start to dot your produce aisles with their golden glow. As you bite into their velvety skin, your taste buds will get a burst of tang, while your body benefits from its rich supply of vitamin A, C, and carotenoids. Carotenoids are phytochemicals that give the apricot both its color and antioxidant-rich properties, which can help protect against heart disease and cancer. To enjoy the full health benefits of this tart fruit, enjoy them when they are fully ripened.
Tasty Tip: Liven up your dishes with some color and taste by adding some chopped fresh apricots to your muffin or pancake batter, oatmeal, or vegetable stew.
Green and Lean with Asparagus
These delicious green spears can emerge as early as February and are the perfect side dish for your spring meals! Chock full of vitamins A, C and K, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium, asparagus is also rich in the prebiotic inulin. Prebiotics, not to be confused with probiotics, are non-digestible carbohydrates that promote a healthy living environment for your gut flora. Prebiotics can be found in fibers from fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Probiotics, on the other hand, are found in fermented foods. Just one cup of asparagus provides you with 3 grams of dietary fiber, which may lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Food for Thought: To preserve the nutrients, it is best to steam the asparagus or quickly sauté it and add to your favorite salad, omelet, or pasta. For a kick of flavor, grate some lemon zest over these tasty spears and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Bonus Tip: To further improve your digestion, try Abundant Energy-Digestion Formula, specially blended to stimulate digestion and improve nutrient absorption.
Artichokes to Your Liver’s Rescue
It goes without saying that if we want to live far into the future, we need livers that function properly. Most people have livers that are burdened by chemical overload and do not function optimally. Artichokes can help. This delicious vegetable is a powerful liver protector because it contains a flavonoid called silymarin, a strong antioxidant. Studies on animals have shown that silymarin may be helpful against liver toxicity and cancer. When they are in season, steam and eat artichokes regularly to keep your liver performing at its optimum.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
--Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on The Ricki Lake Show, Dr. Oz, and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310-917-2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at email@example.com.