Eating seasonally is so much more important than many people realize.
Because the foods that naturally grow each season contain the specific nutrients that your body needs in order to thrive during that specific time of year.
From arugula and radish to strawberries and asparagus, here are 12 seasonal spring foods that will do so many favors for your skin.
Once you begin to see green garlic at your local farmer’s market, you know that spring really has arrived.
Never heard of green garlic before?
It looks somewhat like a scallion, but tastes like a sweeter and milder form of garlic, and can be used in the same way when cooking. It is basically an immature garlic plant, harvested before the plant has had time to produce a large bulb.
While green garlic may have more of a delicate taste than regular garlic, it still packs the same punch in terms of nutrition.
When it comes to the skin, one of its greatest benefits is the way in which it improves circulation. They do this by lowering the levels of certain lipids in your blood, which form sticky deposits and reduce blood flow. Since your blood is where your skin gets its oxygen and nutrients from, a higher flow of blood means that your skin is able to really thrive.
Green garlic tends to only be available for a few weeks in the spring each year, so if you see some, be sure to get your hands on it!
Strawberries come into season in the late spring months, at a time when your skin could really do with the extra help.
Why does your skin need extra help in the late spring?
Because this is just before the onslaught of the hot summer sun, which damages the skin in so many ways. Thankfully, strawberries contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid, which actually has a photo-protective effect. It works against UV rays by preventing the production of MMP, an enzyme that is created by UV exposure and leads to the destruction of collagen.
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, and also contain alpha hydroxy acids, both of which help to renew the skin and contribute to a more youthful appearance. In fact, research shows that those who eat foods high in vitamin C experience fewer wrinkles, as well as other age-related skin problems, than those who do not.
Many people think of dandelions as a weed, but this often overlooked herb is actually quite the superfood.
Here are just a few of the benefits that dandelion greens bring to the skin:
- Detoxification and purifies the blood
- Antioxidant properties
- Regulates hormone production, which can help with hormonal acne
- Packed with a range of nutrients, including vitamins A, B2, C, potassium, iron, calcium and more
No idea how to cook them?
They do have a slight bitterness, but this is easily countered with other ingredients.
- Whiz them up in a smoothie or juice
- Blitz them into a pesto
- Add them to a salad
- Sauté them with garlic and olive oil
- Stir fry them
Don’t want to see the end of dandelion greens once spring draws to a close?
All parts of this incredible herb are edible, from the leaves to the roots to the flowers, and each part helps to boost the skin in its own way, meaning that you can make use of dandelion’s benefits almost year-round.
One of the nutrients that your skin really needs in order for its cells to repair itself is folate, which asparagus contains in high amounts.
They are also packed with glutathione, which is one of the most potent antioxidants when it comes to fighting skin aging. Natural levels of glutathione in the body decrease with age, with this beginning in your 30s, making it so important to obtain enough of it from your diet.
Want to give your skin even more of a boost?
Give purple asparagus a try. Not only does this bring all of the same benefits as regular green asparagus, but they are also full of anthocyanins, which is the compound that gives fruits and vegetables their red and purple hues. These anthocyanins have antioxidant effects, meaning that they are able to neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from aging.
Cilantro is grown commercially throughout the year, but if you are buying the local, farm-fresh stuff, then spring is when this flavorful herb comes back into season.
Let’s begin by talking about heavy metals…
Toxic metals enter the body in a number of different ways, from eating and inhaling to touching your skin or your eyes. These then cause oxidative stress in the cells within your body, including your skin cells.
What does oxidative stress do to your skin?
It leads to premature aging.
So, what does this have to do with cilantro?
Well, cilantro is actually a fantastic chelator for heavy metals, meaning that it helps to remove these heavy metals from your body.
In addition to that unique benefit, cilantro has also been seen to improve certain skin conditions, including rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Think that sounds too good to be true?
It all comes down to cilantro’s anti-inflammatory properties, and since so many skin issues are caused by inflammation, this is an ingredient that can help the skin in a number of different ways.
Arugula is a peppery green that adds so much punch and flavor to a meal.
It also adds plenty of vitamin K, which is a key vitamin when it comes to reducing dark circles underneath the eyes.
How does it do this?
Well, dark under-eye circles tend to be caused by damaged skin and poor circulation, and with vitamin K being able to help with blood coagulation, as well as boost circulation, it does not take long for results to become visible.
Arugula is also known for its powerful phytochemicals, which are released into the body when the leaves are eaten.
Wondering what these phytochemicals do?
Quite a few things, including:
- Reduce inflammation
- Protect skin cells from DNA damage
- Reduce redness caused by the sun
- Protect against UV damage
What makes this even better is…
Even though arugula leaves the body after it has been digested, the effects that it brings last for several days after the leaves have been consumed.
Slender and pointy spring carrots are so much sweeter, as well as more tender, than carrots harvested at a later stage, making this the perfect time to begin eating more of them.
If you do, your skin will thank you, because carrots are one of the best anti-aging vegetables out there.
What makes them so fantastic?
Their high beta-carotene content, which is converted to vitamin A once it enters the body. Vitamin A can do everything from repairing damaged skin and reducing sun sensitivity to improving skin texture and minimizing wrinkles.
Do you find carrots to be a bit boring?
Check out the many different varieties out there. From rainbow-colored carrots to different varieties of the orange carrot that all taste unique, carrots really do come in so many flavors, shapes and sizes.
Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it is commonly treated as a fruit due to its rich sweetness.
Its primary benefit is all of the vitamin C and vitamin A it contains. It is also packed with carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which convert into vitamin A once they enter the body.
Wondering how to choose rhubarb?
The stalks come in varying shades of red and green, and while they do not differ in terms of taste, the red stalks actually contain a higher level of certain antioxidants, so try to go for the more vibrantly-colored stalks if possible.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Purple sprouting broccoli comes into season in the early spring, when there are not that many other fresh, seasonal foods available.
With dark green leaves and rich, purple heads, purple sprouting broccoli is not only packed with a range of skin-boosting nutrients, but also sulforaphane.
Want to know what sulforaphane does for your skin?
Here are just a few of its benefits:
- Antioxidant properties
As you can see, this is a compound that can protect the skin, as well as the rest of the body, in so many ways.
It can actually be found in many cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, but the springtime harvests of purple sprouting broccoli cannot be beaten when it comes to flavor and color.
Never cooked it before?
Try steaming it, or frying it gently with some butter, or even roasting it with some olive oil. Once you see how versatile this vegetable is, you will find yourself eating so much more of it!
Radishes are not usually what come to mind when people think of spring foods, but these root vegetables are at their tastiest, sweetest and most tender in the spring months.
Did you know that radishes are fantastic for detoxification?
This means that they can help the skin to eliminate toxins and unwanted substances at a much more efficient rate, resulting in an improved complexion.
They also contain vitamins A, C and K, as well as everything from potassium to magnesium to copper, all of which the skin can benefit from.
Don’t like the bitterness that comes with raw radishes?
Try roasting them to bring out their sweetness, or even juicing them with sweeter ingredients.
Mint can be purchased throughout the year, but fresh mint comes into season in the spring, once the weather has warmed up slightly.
This herb has long since been recognized for its powerful healing properties, and can help the body and skin in so many ways.
Do you suffer from seasonal springtime allergies?
If so, mint might be able to help.
Mint contains an antioxidant called rosmarinic acid, which has been linked to being able to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Since seasonal allergies can cause puffy eyes, redness in the face, and a number of other unwanted skin issues, mint could really be a huge help in the spring months.
Although beets are available year-round in many places, they are at their most tender during the spring months.
One of the greatest benefits that beets bring, not just to the skin but to the entire body, is their detoxifying effects, specifically when it comes to the liver and the blood.
Beets contain a compound called betalain, which helps to boost liver function and therefore stimulates the body’s natural detoxification process.
Your liver and your skin are so connected, so when your liver is acting sluggish, the symptoms of this will quickly show up on your skin. By keeping your liver in great shape, you will be helping your skin big time too.
In addition to their detoxifying effect, beets also contain:
Not sure how to make full use of beets in the kitchen?
This is another vegetable that is actually extremely versatile…
Thanks to their sweetness, they work really well in desserts, and their vibrant color acts as a natural dye too.
However, their earthiness lends them well to savory dishes, whether this may be roasted beets, shredded beet risotto, puréed beet gnocchi, beet coleslaw, or anything else you can conjure up.
While all of these foods are especially beneficial for the skin, just about anything that is in season, and fresh, will be able to really help improve your complexion. Whether this may be root crops, leafy greens, or even fresh seafood,eating seasonally is an effective, and fun, way to nourish your skin.