Asparagus

The spear like vegetable asparagus, can help thwart disease.  It’s full of antioxidants that are good for the skin.  Vitamin K is high in asparagus which aids in blood clotting and the vitamin C strengthens immunity.  The folate is great for pregnant women and it’s anti-inflammatory.  Yes, your urine may smell after a delicious meal of asparagus, but the fiber is great for digestion.

In the Northern hemisphere it usually grows between March and June.  You will find thinner spears early in the season and thicker ones as the season progresses.  Asparagus are great for roasting, grilling or in a stir fry.

asparagus

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are part of the cruciferous family.  This little green vegetable is packed with nutrients.  It’s high in vitamin K which is good for bone health.  There’s also a good amount of vitamin C.  Brussels are high in fiber that aids digestion.  The omega 3 fatty acids can help the body with inflammation.  This winter vegetable is a good antioxidant that can lower cholesterol.  Don’t let the size fool you, brussel sprouts have great anti cancer properties.

Belgium is not the only place where brussel sprouts are popular.  They’re grown during the winter in Europe and North America.  So, get out the steamer, add a little olive oil and enjoy this delicious vegetable.

brussels-sprouts

 

Sweet Potatoes

Just because sweet potatoes have a delicious sugary taste doesn’t mean that they’re bad for you.  They are grown in warm, temperate climates.  These root vegetables contain good amounts of vitamin A and some vitamin C.  They’re a great anti-inflammatory food.  The beta carotenes found in the orange colored sweet potatoes are good for immunity and the eyes.  The purple variety has strong antioxidant properties.  Plus, the sugar in the sweet potato is released slowly into the blood stream so the body won’t experience a spike in blood sugar.

In Indian tradition the sacral chakra or svadhisthana is equated with the orange color.  They say that if you consume orange foods it helps open up the sacral chakra.  This can bring about strength, vitality, and creativity.  If you would like to be revitalized forget the french fries, cut up a sweet potato into wedges and bake it in the oven.

sweet potato

Watermelon

Watermelons are a great summer fruit.  The red juicy center of the watermelon is chalked full of vitamins and minerals.  It contains high levels of vitamins C as well as Vitamin A, B1, B6 and magnesium.  And, don’t forget about the seeds which contain iron and zinc.   The lycopene found in the refreshing red part of the melon is great for cardiovascular health.  Watermelon is also an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.  This fruit is electrolyte rich which is good for keeping hydrated.   And, the water and fiber can help with constipation.

In the United States, watermelons are primarily grown in Florida, California, Texas, Georgia and Indiana.  Help strengthen your immunity and have some watermelon.

watermelon

watermelon 2

 

Artichokes

Artichokes are in the thistle family.  They have been grown for centuries in various regions.  Optimal growing time for the Northern Hemisphere is March, April and May.

Artichokes are very beneficial to your health.  They promote digestion through increasing the bile flow which aids in digestion of fats.  And also aid digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  They’re a powerful antioxidant that can help with cancer prevention.  Eating artichokes can lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.

Artichokes can be boiled or steamed.  Cut the sharp tips and stem before you cook.  When the leaves in the center pull away easily, it’s done.  You can enjoy either warm or cold.

artichokes1

artichokes

Pomegranates

Pomegranate, the other red fruit, is usually in season from September to January.  This nutrient dense food is high in vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, and iron.  They’re a great antioxidant that can help the body against free radicals and oxidation.  In fact, pomegranates are more powerful as an antioxidant than green tea, cranberries, or blueberries.  Some of the other benefits include: lowering blood pressure, preventing plaque build up in the blood vessels, lowering cholesterol, and inhibiting cancer growth.  This vibrant red fruit is great for the heart and blood vessels.

In Indian tradition the root chakra or muldhara is equated with the red color.  It’s said that if you consume red foods such as the powerful pomegranate it can strengthen this base chakra which grounds the body, provides security and confidence.  If you’re feeling ungrounded, break open a pomegranate and enjoy the sweet juicy seeds found inside.

pomegranate-73910_1280

Pumpkins

It’s autumn, that means pumpkins galore.  They’re not just for carving, pumpkins have a lot of great health benefits, and I’m not talking about the pie.  Pumpkins are contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and beta carotene which is a source of vitamin A and an antioxidant.  The pumpkin seeds contain amino acids used to make hormones in the body and can also help with cholesterol.  So when you go to the store to get the jack o’lantern buy an extra pumpkin to consume.

pumpkins

Carotene

Carotenes or carotenoids have also been called provitamin A because it’s the plant based version that we convert in our bodies to vitamin A.  They are found in foods that are typically yellow, orange, or red.

Function

  • supports adrenals and thymus gland
  • strengthens epithelial tissue
  • enhances immune system
  • antioxidant
  • anti-cancer
  • helps heart disease

Lycopene, lutein, and astaxanthin are also carotenes.