The wonderful month of May is considered as a “feel-good month”. This month is not only full of the promise of summer, but also brings green lushness of spring. It even brings fresh crop of superfoods, which are very nutritious. Superfoods are loaded with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, which provide many health benefits. They help to prevent or decrease the risk of diseases and promote overall health. Including superfoods in your diet is the best and easiest way to optimize your health. You can get fresh superfoods at your local grocery stores and farmers market. Here are listed the top 7 Superfoods that you must try for the month of May.
SuperFoods of May
The summertime treat, fresh boysenberries look almost like raspberry and a blackberry. They have reddish-purple color and a sweet-tart taste similar to raspberry. They are excellent source of Vitamin C, anthocyanins, Vitamin K and fiber. They are also great source of folate, manganese and ellagic acid. They are low in fat and calories. They also contain calcium, protein and iron. They help to decrease the risk of cancer, protect against oxidative damage, prevent damage to nerves, prevent neural tube defects in babies, fight free radical damage, prevent bone related & Alzheimers disease, promote bowel regularity, regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels. As per recent study, consumption of berries may slow cognitive degeneration in the elder people.
Fresh boysenberries are accessible from grocery stores and farmers’ markets in the end of May and starting of June. Always buy shiny, firm and plump boysenberries and avoid bruised, moldy or leaking berries. After purchasing, you should use boysenberries as soon as possible. You can use fresh boysenberries in pies, jellies, desserts, syrups or jams or just add them in oatmeal, fruit salads or yogurts.
Dandelion greens are among the healthiest leafy vegetables. The taste of these greens is somewhat bitter and tangy. Dandelion greens are excellent source of iron, calcium, Vitamin A, potassium and Vitamin C. They are also high in protein, manganese, Vitamin E, magnesium, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin K. They contain very few calories. Potassium helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure; Vitamin A maintains healthy mucus membranes, prevents age related macular degeneration skin, improves the skin texture and good for skin & eyes; Iron is very important for RBC productions while Vitamin C is necessary for optimum health. Other benefits of these greens are decreased risk of multiple sclerosis, cancer, cataracts and stroke. Anti-inflammatory property of dandelion helps the people suffering from asthma and other inflammatory diseases.
Choose fresh, succulent, firm, tender and bright green leaves while buying dandelion greens. Avoid any discolored or wilted leaves. You can add them in sandwiches, salads, soups, stews & juices or enjoy raw/cooked like spinach (sautéed, steamed, braised or boiled). You can also substitute them in recipes that need kale, chard or collard greens.
Apricots are one of the nutritious and healthiest fruits. This golden fruit is packed with lots of nutrients and low in calories. They are rich source of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin B17. Vitamin A helps to prevent age related macular degeneration; fights against rashes, pimples & acne; improves the skin texture and good for eyes while fiber helps to prevent constipation and digestive disorders. They have beta-carotene (that helps to protect against Alzheimer’s disease as well as prevent heart disease), iron (which prevents anemia) and lycopene (that fights against cancer, blocked arteries, joint degeneration free radicals and nervous system problems). They also contain calcium, copper, phosphorus, Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.
Fresh apricots are available from May to September, but you can get dried and canned apricots throughout the year. While purchasing fresh ones, go for well ripe apricots with uniform golden-orange color and rich aroma. Never buy apricots that have pale yellow color. You can add them in syrup, salads, jam, cereals, marmalade, desserts, pancakes and jelly or eat as a whole.
Avocados are among the healthiest foods in the world as they have about twenty five essential nutrients. They are loaded with Vitamin E, monosaturated fats, potassium, fiber and lutein. Monounsaturated fats decrease inflammation in the body, lutein protects the eyes against macular degeneration, oxidative stress and cataracts, potassium helps in regulating blood pressure and prevents circulatory diseases, fiber helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation while Vitamin E retains the skin moisture as well as protects body tissue from free radical damage. Avocados are also good source of Vitamins A, B, B6, C, D & K and beta-carotene. They are also high in calories so you must eat them in moderation. There are also many other benefits of avocados such as they prevent prostate & breast cancer, prevent circulatory diseases, reduce nausea in pregnant women, decrease the risk of oral cancer and prevent aging symptoms.
You will get avocados year-round. While buying them, pick medium size, totally ripe avocados that have nice aroma. Never buy avocados that are excessively ripened, very hard or have blemishes, cuts and spots. Avocado can be added to salad, shakes, sandwich or burgers. You can eat the fruit on its own or make guacamole or dip.
Radishes are brightly colored root vegetables, which come in various sizes, shapes and colors. You will find red, black and purple colored radishes, but the most common are red radishes. Radishes contain more than 94% of water in them, so you will feel fuller for longer period of time. They are loaded with Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and folate. They also contain calcium, beta carotene, thiamin, iron, phosphorous, riboflavin, fluoride, lutein, magnesium, zinc and vitamin K in good amount. Compared to the roots, radish greens have more calcium, protein and Vitamin C. Radishes help to detox and purify blood, treat constipation, provide relief in piles, treat urinary & skin disorders, prevent many types of cancer as well as cure leukoderma and problems related to respiratory system.
The peak season of radishes is during winter and spring. Buy radishes that have stout, fresh and firm roots along with fresh crispy greens. Don’t buy radishes with cracked roots. Radishes can be added to tacos, salads and sandwiches. You can also eat radishes raw or just make juice of them.
Morel mushrooms are just like other mushrooms. These unique type of mushrooms are found in forests (where there is moist soil). They have conical shape and honeycomb-like caps. They are rich in Vitamin E, copper, Vitamin D, iron and potassium. They have low amount of fat, sodium and calories. They also contain manganese and phosphorous. Selenium and niacin are contained in high amount. They both help to reduce the risk of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Morel mushrooms help to lose weight, improve heart conditions, boost immune system and lower blood sugars. Morel mushrooms have some toxins, which are destroyed when they are cooked. So, one should consume them after cooking.
You will get fresh morels only in the spring but dried and canned are accessible throughout the year. While purchasing, buy morels with fresh and earthy smell and stay away from morels with bruising, soft spots or slime. You can add fresh or dried morels in recipes. They can also be added in cream and wine sauces, soups and stews. You can make morel paté for puff pastry. You can bake sauté, fry, stew broil, grill or stuff them.
Arugula is another healthiest leafy vegetable. It has peppery taste and low calories. It is very high in Vitamin A, calcium, Vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, Vitamin K and manganese. It also contains riboflavin, potassium, cancer-preventing phytochemicals, iron, chlorophyll, copper and zinc in high amount. It helps to increase sexual performance and potency, promote bone health, boost immunity, promote weight management and a healthy digestive tract, protect against Alzheimer’s disease & various types of cancers, prevent neural tube defects in the newborns as well as decrease the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes & stroke.
Always go for fresh, crisp and bright green leaves that have no brown spots. You can add arugula in soup, sandwiches, pasta dishes, wraps, stews, salads and pizzas. You can also add it to juices or cook arugula as vegetable.