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Nutrition Feature Article

Superfoods

 

Avocado

 

Technically a fruit, avocados are chock-full of healthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are also an excellent source of potassium and vitamin E.

 

How To Buy And Eat

 

The California Avocado Commission suggests gently squeezing the fruit in your palm; if it's ready to eat, it will be "firm yet will yield to gentle pressure." If it still requires a bit of ripening, try placing it in a brown paper bag and storing at room temperature until it has softened.

When it comes to eating this heart-healthy fruit, raw is always a quick and easy option. Avocados can be great raw with just a dash of salt, mashed up in guacamole, or in a delicious spring salad.

Strawberries

 

Yes, strawberry season has begun, which means good things for your tastebuds and for your overall health. Strawberries are extremely high in vitamin C as well as key antioxidants that, according to The George Mateljan Foundation, help make them a powerful anti-inflammatory, among other things.

"Strawberries are also really rich in pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber," explains Dr. Rebecca Reeves, the former president of the American Dietetic Association. She adds that berries in general, which are just coming into season in certain parts of the country, are always a great, highly-nutritious bet.

 

How To Buy And Eat

 

The key here is color -- look for deep, red berries (keeping in mind that there are color differences among varieties), as they'll be the sweetest, most ripe options. As far as cooking, strawberries are another option that's great, as-is. Although really, who can resist a lighter version of the traditional strawberry shortcake, made with tons of berries and fat-free milk?

 

 

 


Rhubarb

 

Rhubarb is another food that's high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. But this pink, tart vegetable is one that people sometimes just don't know what to do with.

 

How To Buy And Eat

 

Rhubarb is usually sold in bunches (think asparagus). The dark, pink stalks and, generally speaking, shorter, pinker stalks are sweeter than the longer, green ones -- though again, that can vary depending on the variety. Rhubarb can be great in pies and crumbles, though it is also a good option for chutneys and salads, bringing in a refreshing tart flavor.

Spinach

 

Spinach tends to be a cool-season annual, which means it thrives in spring. Good thing, too, because people just can't say enough about the nutrition benefits of this superfood. It is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, E and K and is extremely low in calories. Fresh spinach is also jam-packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants. "Spinach is really high in vitamins and minerals," Reeves says. "It is a real superfood."

 

How To Buy And Eat

 

These days, spinach is an increasingly easy choice given that pre-washed packages of baby spinach abound. But if you're buying a bunch, look for leaves that are dark green and crisp as well as stems that are still intact.

As far as eating, there are lots of options out there -- steamed, pureed or sautéed, to name a few. Spinach can also be used in, or as a base for, refreshing spring salads.


Nutrition Articles



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