It’s that wonderful time of year when winter is just a memory and the warmer weather is beginning to allow for tasty fruits and vegetables to come in season.
We all know that spring vegetables can help to keep us looking younger for longer.
Especially if they make up the majority of our diets and we keep meat and dairy to a minimum.
But do you really know the full extent of the health benefits of the spring vegetables that are now in season?
Well, you will after reading this!
Asparagus is vegetable consisting of spears with fleshy tops that look a little like thick green wheat stems and it has a wealth of health benefits.
Asparagus contains high levels of folate, dietary fibre, vitamins K, A, C, E and the trace mineral chromium which is good for regulating insulin levels by controlling blood-glucose levels.
It also contains a number of strong antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body, and it is particularly high in glutathione which is a strong antioxidants that breaks down free radicals and carcinogens.
The folate in Asparagus works in conjunction with B12 giving anti-aging properties too, and helps to slow cognitive decline and reduce cognitive impairment.
Cauliflower is white and has a bubbly appearance covered by light green leaves.
This vegetable has a fairly strong flavour and again has lots of medicinal and health benefits.
First of all, cauliflower contains high levels of sulforaphane, which is a compound that has been found in studies to kill cancer stem cells, so it is a powerful vegetable for fighting cancer.
The same compound is also known to help regulate blood pressure thus decreasing the risk of heart problems, and also promotes health kidney function.
Just 100g of cauliflower gives you 75% of your daily vitamin C, and it also contains lots of other nutrients including:
- vitamin K
- vitamin B6
- folate and pantothenic acid.
It’s a great time of year for cucumber as it is a very watery vegetable perfect for fresh salads.
Cucumber is long with a dark green skin and a light green fleshy and watery centre.
Cucumbers are high in B vitamins, which are great for giving you an energy boost.
As cucumbers are 95% water, they are really good for keeping the body hydrated too, and hydrated skin equals younger looks so get eating those cucumbers for a youthful appearance.
They also contain three lignans which have been strongly suggested in many studies over the years to be linked to reducing severe cancers.
It is also important to leave the skin on when you eat cucumber as a serving with skin on contains 10% of your daily vitamins C.
Broccoli is another great vegetable to reduce the risk of cancer as it contains contains glucoraphanin, which is a chemical that the body processes into sulforaphane, a strong cancer fighting compound.
It is good source of vitamin C too, and also contains high levels of calcium and vitamin K which are good for the prevention of osteoporosis.
Broccoli contains phytonutrients that work as anti-inflammatories too, which makes them a great spring vegetable to eat as it ca help to ease spring allergy symptoms.
Spinach is well known as a superfood as it is nutrient dense so eating a handful of spinach every day can do wonders for your health, and it’s in season!
Low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, spinach is certainly something to get lots of.
It contains high levels of vitamins K, A, B6, C, E and B2.
It also contains essential magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, folate and manganese.
It’s also a great source of plant-based protein.
Spinach is well known for its ability to promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure and its high flavonoid content makes it another fantastic cancer fighting vegetable.
Cabbage is a fantastic vegetable if you’re trying to lose weight as there are only around 33 calories per serving.
This also makes it perfect for adding to smoothies and juices.
The high levels of vitamin K found in cabbage are good for healthy brain function and for reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The potassium it contains helps to relax the blood vessels too, which can help to keep blood pressure in check.
The high vitamin C levels help to fight cancer and ward off colds, while red cabbage can promote health blood sugar levels as they contain no white sugars, and also help to reduce inflammation making them wonderful for allergies and arthritis.
March and early spring is when you need to really start getting sowing your seeds for flowers, vegetables and fruit.
February to April is probably one of the busiest times in the gardening calendar because there is a lot of preparation and seed sowing to get done in order to ensure that you have lots of crops to harvest in the summer and autumn.
Now is the time to get sowing your seeds for tomatoes, peppers (sweet peppers) and aubergines indoors to get them started.
They will need plenty of sunlight and warmth to germinate so a sunny windowsill is the best place.
It is important in March to keep your eye on the weather forecasts if you have any outdoor plants growing, as a cold snap could destroy everything so if there is a cold spell forecast, cover your plants with a thin fleece blanket to protect them.
Here’s a list of things you need to be doing in March and the vegetables/plants you should be sowing or starting off.
Tasks in the Vegetable Garden in March
First of all, finish any digging that is unfinished and make sure that you turn all of the soil in your vegetable patches, borders and anywhere that you intend on planting.
You should also warm your soil by covering it with cloches, and get sowing your early seeds under the cloches too.
If you have any apple trees, you should start pruning them.
The same goes if you have any other hardy fruit trees. If you’ve got any new container grown fruit trees, you should now also plant these too ready for the warmer weather.
Remember to dig manure in around the base of any fruit trees that you have.
Planning to harvest some strawberries this summer?
Then now is the time to prepare your strawberry beds.
You should also prune your raspberry canes down to 6 inches, and now is the time also to plant your other fruit bushes and fruit canes.
When buying any form of vegetable or fruit seeds, plants or trees, make sure that you go for varieties that are best for organic growing as you don’t want to be using pesticides, these can cause disease and illness over time.
March is the time to be starting off the following:
artichokes, aubergines, broad beans, runner beans, French beans, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, gooseberries, cauliflower, celery, cress, watercress, cucumber, herbs, lettuce, leeks, spring onions, chillies, parsnips, peas and peppers.
Preparing Your Flower Garden in March
If you are also growing some flowers, it’s time to order your seeds and get your borders prepared by turning the soil and digging in manure.
You should also be preparing soil in hanging baskets and planters, and should be pruning your rose bushes and training the climbers.
Of course, there are lots more spring vegetables to choose from, all with their own wonderful combination of nutrients to help us stay healthy, look younger and feel great, but the ones we’ve listed are some of the most readily available in spring and some of the most common.
Always remember to buy organic to avoid GM and pesticides!
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