5 spring foods that are great for your skin
If you want to do your bit for the environment, and enjoy a wider variety of fresh, healthy foods, then eating seasonably is a great place to start. Although we’re lucky to have many fruits and vegetables available to us the year round, there’s something extra special about eating foods that are in season. It’s easier to find fresh picked, locally grown produce when you eat in season, and by following the growing calendar, you get to enjoy lots of different fruits and vegetables. Maybe even some you haven’t considered eating before!
It’s not all about taste either. Seasonal foods often have higher quantities of nutrients than their hothouse-grown counterparts. For example a study on the “Nutritional quality of organic, conventional, and seasonally grown broccoli using vitamin C as a marker” found that there wasn’t much difference in the nutrients of conventionally vs. organically grown broccoli. However there was a big difference in the nutrients of in-season and out of season broccoli. Eating in season is more important than eating organic, at least where broccoli is concerned.
So what’s in season this spring? Here are five delicious fruits and vegetables that are available for you to try right now. They are all packed with vitamins and nutrients that nourish and protect your skin from the inside out.
Spinach is an amazing leafy green that punches above its weight when it comes to nutrients. It contains many important vitamins, minerals, and cell-supporting compounds. Top of the list are Vitamins A, B6, B9, C, E, and K1. These are essential vitamins your body uses to support eye function, cell growth, and immune health. Vitamins K1 is also important for blood clotting. Just one leaf contains half your recommended dietary allowance.
Key minerals found in spinach include iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These are important for healthy blood, bones, muscles, and nerves. Spinach also contains lutein and zeaxanthin (great for eye health) and antioxidants. It can even help regulate your blood pressure, thanks to high levels of nitrates.
All these vitamins and minerals are great for your skin. They help support healthy cell growth and boost your immune system. This results in less inflammation. Vitamins A, C, and K are particularly beneficial, helping to strengthen your skin’s protective barrier and combat UV light damage. The antioxidants in spinach also protect your cells from oxidative stress. Combating oxidation can help offset signs of premature aging.
Spinach is great raw in salads or on sandwiches instead of lettuce. You can also add it to soups, stews, and smoothies, stir it into pasta and rice dishes, or saute it and serve as a side dish.
Fresh asparagus has a short season but it’s worth waiting for. This versatile vegetable can be boiled, grilled, steamed, roasted, or sauted to add to almost any dish you can imagine. And you’ll want to add it to everything, because it’s packed with cell-loving vitamins and antioxidants. High on the list is Vitamin K, essential for blood health, and folate (Vitamin B9) for cell growth. Asparagus also contains lots of Vitamins E and C, as well as antioxidant flavonoids and polyphenols. And just half a cup of asparagus provides almost 10% of your daily fiber needs.
Vitamin E has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make it particularly beneficial for skin health. Vitamin C encourages collagen growth, which can improve skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Indulge your sweet tooth and nourish your skin from a cellular level by eating lots of spring pineapple.
Pineapple is high in immune-supportive Vitamin C. It also contains Vitamins A, B6, E, and K. Minerals contained in pineapple include calcium, folate (Vitamin B9), iron, magnesium, and more.
It also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is what makes some people’s mouths tingle when they eat fresh pineapple. In a study on the “Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain,” researchers found that this amazing enzyme has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat cardiovascular disorders, osteoarthritis, and digestive disorders. It can also improve the absorption of antibiotics.
The vitamins and minerals in pineapple help reduce acne and signs of sun damage, improve skin tone, and combat visible signs of aging.
You can eat pineapple raw, either on its own, with fruit as a dessert, or in salsas. It can also be grilled, baked, broiled, and roasted. Some people even enjoy it on pizza!
You can buy artichoke hearts canned year-round, but there’s nothing quite like eating this food fresh. Artichokes are actually flower buds, and if they bloom they look like thistles. You can eat fresh artichoke hot or cold. Simply pull off the petals and eat the fleshy meat at the base. Don’t eat the whole petal, as the outer parts are too fibrous. While they aren’t poisonous, they will leave you with an upset stomach.
Artichokes are packed with antioxidants that are great for the health of all your cells, but especially your skin. That’s because our skin is exposed to the most damage from UV light and pollutants, and shows the signs of oxidative stress first. The antioxidants in artichokes can help prevent this damage and delay signs of premature aging.
Artichokes are also a good source of Vitamin C, which is important for collagen growth. Eating artichokes can also help control blood sugar levels, improve digestion, and support heart and liver health. One medium artichoke contains about 25% of your RDA of Vitamins C and K, 10% of Vitamin B6 and iron, and 20% of your RDA of magnesium.
Morel mushrooms are a spring treat that are great for your health. Morels are an important source of Vitamin D, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. A “Comparison of Vitamin D levels in patients with and without acne” study found that there was a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and acne, especially severe acne with inflammatory lesions. These symptoms improved when the patients were given a Vitamin D supplement.
Morels are also a good source of potassium, which can help keep your skin hydrated, and iron. Iron is vital for building healthy blood cells, so adding morels to your diet can help improve your circulation and overall cellular health.
You should always cook morels thoroughly before eating, as raw or undercooked mushrooms can lead to stomach upsets. Morels have a nutty taste and meaty texture, and they can be stuffed, sauteed, and roasted.
Our bodies need a wide range of vitamins and minerals to function properly. If we aren’t getting enough, one of the first places this will show is on our skin. Deficiencies in essential nutrients can lead to acne breakouts, inflammation, and signs of premature aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. Eating a varied, balanced diet is the best way to combat these symptoms and nourish your body from a cellular level. When we eat seasonal foods, we not only get the widest range of available nutrients, but we also get the most nutrients available from each food. It’s also better for the environment, so there’s no reason not to try some fresh spring produce this season.