Restaurant chefs and healthy lifestyle gurus are forever waxing lyrical about eating 'seasonally' but few of us normal folk actually do.
Which is a shame actually, because there are lots of benefits to eating foods during the period that they grow naturally.
For one thing, they've been proven to taste much better when in season, because they haven't been modified, stored for long periods or messed around with. When it comes to nutrition, the food's levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are at their highest.
It's also better for your pocket. It's much cheaper to buy foods when they're in season as supply is high, plus it helps the planet out because lower levels of artificial chemicals are required to speed up or slow down growth.
So, since spring is finally showing its face, we've rounded up our favourite healthy foods of the new season...
It might not be the most exciting vegetable but cauliflower is not only in season, it's having a bit of a moment thanks to being pushed as a carb alternative in recipes by the Hemsley sisters and Deliciously Ella. It rates super high for vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients levels in relation to calorie content, so pick one up from the supermarket (or farmer's market if you have one local) and grate to make rice and pizza bases or chop into thai curries and salads.
Say hello to one of the world's healthiest foods. This tart citrus fruit is high in vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system, boosts metabolism to aid slimming, maintains healthy blood pressure and even reduces stress. It can react with certain medications, so it's worth checking with your doctor that grapefruit is fine to mix with your prescription, otherwise fill up at the fresh fruit counter. Happily, it can be used in sweet and savoury dishes, so it's just down to whatever your tastebuds prefer.
Touted as a 'superfood', this leafy plant has a reputation for boosting the appearance of the skin, increasing energy levels and protecting cells against free radical damage thanks to scientific studies. You'll often find it chilling out in pre-mixed salad bags but we prefer to buy the peppery leaves as a stand-alone ingredient, to make our own pesto or add a flavour punch to savoury tarts.
The past few years have been all about lobster, but its smaller pal is packed with protein, fatty acids, minerals, and in our opinion, is much tastier. Buying a dressed crab can be a good choice if you're short on time, but if you have a Sunday afternoon to play with, buy a cooked crab from a fishmonger or supermarket and shell it yourself. The brown meat is arguably more flavoursome than the white meat so make sure to use it in your cooking, like this linguine recipe.
Most people think of rhubarb as a winter food, given our penchant for cooking it up in hearty crumbles and slathering with warm custard, but the fruit is actually at its best come late spring. It's a healthy mouthful, containing lycopene which helps fight disease, fibre which maintains digestive health and vitamin K to boost bone health. Come over all domestic goddess to make this rhubarb chia jam or if you can't imagine eating rhubarb in anything but a crumble, give Honestly Healthy's version a go .
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