It’s Spring: A-a-cho-o!
With Colorado’s crazy climate, this time of year challenges even the hardiest health. From frigid to mild temps, dry to moist and dark to light, we welcome Spring!
The environment around us visibly makes its changes, however, we often forget that our internal (unseen) terrain also changes with the seasons. Nature knows how to adjust and adapt to seasonal shifts, as does the human body. However, our modern lifestyles, dietary choices and our internal rhythms have been altered resulting in seasonal symptoms: extra pounds, runny eyes and nose, scratchy, dry throat, sneezing or wheezing.
The body in Spring is programmed to release the excesses of Winter (stored fat, mucus congestion) if it has been adequately supported nutritionally. If not, it may be feeling a bit sluggish right about now.
Spring TLC to the Rescue
I challenge you to purge your pantry of the heavier, creamier, warmer Winter meal-mixes and stock up on lighter, fresher, greener ingredients for your Spring meals. Markets are displaying more fresh greens now––choose the Spring Herb Mixes for refreshing and cleansing salads and juices.
Asparagus, one of my favorite spring greens, offers many health benefits:
• Good source of fiber, folate, Vitamins A, C, E, K and the trace mineral, chromium (improves insulin’s glucose transporting ability).
• High in glutathione (detoxes carcinogens and free radicals), which protects against some cancers
• High in anti-oxidants, which supports immune health and slows aging
• The rich chlorophyll content supports cellular cleansing/detoxing
• Try these Spring recipes for a healthy and delicious dietary shift: Cheesy Asparagus Scones and Herb Frittata from last weeks posts.
Another favorite green, Celery, provides numerous nutritional benefits. This crunchy veggie belongs in your Spring menus. Whether juiced or whole, you’ll appreciate its health enhancing properties:
• Impressive anti-oxidant (phyto-nutrients) and anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit free radical activity (oxidative damage)
• Studies suggesting celery’s benefits in cardiovascular and liver conditions, blood glucose imbalances, elevated blood lipid and pressure and gastrointestinal disorders (ulcers, irritable bowel)
• The whole stalk provides a high insoluble fiber content, serving as an intestinal “scrubber” to help eliminate accumulated toxins and plaque. It also feeds the “good” gut bacteria.
• Juiced celery provides a more nutrient-concentrated, bioavailable food that is gentler on sensitive digestive systems.
• Use caution: the Environmental Working Group publishes a “Dirty Dozen” list each year highlighting produce that is high in chemical residue from pesticides. Sadly, celery is on that list. Choose organic if you enjoy celery.
• Celery falls in the food group that potentially triggers allergic reactions. If you show reactions to mugwort and birch pollen, you should eliminate celery from your food list. The high content of Vitamin K in celery may interfere if you take anti-clotting medications. If you have a kidney condition, you should avoid celery juice. Ask your Wellness Provider.
• Celery juice has a strong flavor and may be enhanced with the addition of apple or lemon slices to the juicer.
Other Spring greens include bitter herbs and greens (dandelion, chicory, endive, peppermint, yarrow, milk-thistle, horseradish to name a few), which stimulate the appetite, aid digestion, help eliminate stored fat and tone the liver and kidneys––two important detoxifying organs.
Giving this TLC now will improve your overall energy and help reduce those miserable seasonal symptoms. As you put away the winter wardrobe or begin clearing flower beds in preparation for Spring, remember to take care of your inner Spring garden.