Daylight Savings time is this weekend and that means that my favorite time of year is approaching. We may lose an hour of sleep Sunday, but that means that spring is on the horizon. FINALLY! Although this winter was very mild here in Ohio, I'm looking forward to warmer temperatures, sunny days, and more time outdoors.
For many people, spring feels like a fresh start... similar to the beginning of the year. You might decide that you’d like to eat better, become more active, and/or make new goals for the year.
If this sounds like you, and you want to improve your hormonal health (and your overall general health as well) then superfoods are a great way to do that.
What are Superfoods?
These types of foods are higher in nutrients than the average type of food. They include a combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, even grains and meat. Each of the superfoods will have lots of vitamins and minerals that you need to have a healthy balanced diet.
Superfoods are so helpful when it comes to hormone balance. Our body needs balanced blood sugar, a healthy gut, a reduction in inflammation, healthy fat, and fiber to promote hormonal harmony. Superfoods are the perfect way to help your body with these things.
The following superfoods are ones that are recommended in the springtime, not only because they are available this time of year, but it is easy to add them to foods that you tend to enjoy when the weather is warmer.
Keep reading to learn about the top 12 superfoods for your hormonal health this spring.
1. Romaine Lettuce
Naturally, vegetables are going to be high on the list. There are a lot of superfood vegetables, based on the nutrients that they contain per serving, and your leafy greens are always going to be at the top of a superfood lists. We will discuss other specific type of leafy greens later, but for now, just try to get in more lettuce.
You can choose any type of lettuce that you like, however romaine lettuce is your best option for offering the most nutrients. Romaine lettuce has vitamins and minerals (it’s particulary high in vitamin B9), is easy to get, inexpensive, and simple to add to meals.
Tip for Using Lettuce: If you want to add more lettuce to your diet, try to fit it in meals you already enjoy. Have a side salad with your dinner, add to a wrap or sandwich, or sneak it in your smoothie.
Nuts and seeds are also very good for you, and frequently at the top of healthy food lists and superfood lists. You will be able to find them year-round, but during the spring you often enjoy salads and lighter meals, which is when walnuts really make the meals extra special.
Walnuts contain many important nutrients that your body needs for hormonal health, especially providing healthy fat, protein, and fiber. We need all three of these things to produce hormones, balance blood sugar, and promote bowel regularity.
Tipa for using Walnuts: The great thing about walnuts is that they are simple to add to meals and snacks. Here are some ways to have more walnuts:
-Top your salad with walnuts -Crush them and coat salmon or chicken -Have walnuts with fruit as a snack -Give your oatmeal an extra crunch
Another vegetable that is not only low in fat and really good for you, but is also a superfood, is artichoke. This is perfect to have during the spring, as this is when many places have it fresh in the produce section. It is always good to get food in season to help save money and have the best flavor with your produce.
This fun little green vegetable is packed full of vitamins and minerals, which is why it is considered a superfood. It has a lot of magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium. It doesn’t have any fat and is extremely low in calories. It is also loaded in antioxidants.
Antioxidants help to lower inflammation in the body, as inflammation can be a contributing factor to hormone imbalance. The magnesium in artichokes help to lower cortisol (the stress hormone), and can contribute to better bowel habits, blood sugar control, and sleep.
Moving on from fruits and vegetables is salmon. If you have ever read about foods that are good for you, then this should come as no surprise to you.
Salmon is one of the healthiest types of fish you can eat, being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, providing excellent protein, and other nutrients.
Salmon can not only help you with your hormones, but it can also help lower your cholesterol, improve your skin, keep you full between meals, and even help reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke. It is also great for reducing inflammation in your body.
Unique Benefit of Salmon
Another great reason to choose salmon? It is easy to cook! In just a few minutes, you can grill it, cook it on the stove, or put it in the oven. It goes with just about any vegetable you can think of.
Back to the vegetables, and it is time to talk about asparagus. While this vegetable has a lot of important nutrients, which is what makes it a good superfood for the spring, it is the folate that puts it at the top of the list.
Folate is a type of B vitamin that is wonderful for your brain health and super important during pregnancy. It can affect your energy level, help improve your mood, and get you out of a mental or emotional funk.
If you want to try asparagus, aim for about a cup of it per serving. It is super low in fat and calories, so no need to worry about that.
A cup of asparagus contains about 268 micrograms of folate.
As we mentioned in the first section, lettuce and all leafy greens are important superfoods to have year-round, but spinach is so healthy and good for you, it deserves its own honorable mention.
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy greens that you can eat. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals, particularly folate (as we mentioned is a B vitamin) and vitamin C. If you don’t get much vitamin C because you don’t like citrus fruits, spinach is an excellent alternative.
Spinach, like many leafy greens, can help to reduce inflammation, make our body more alkaline, and promote detoxification.
Spinach also contains other nutrients your body needs, including betaine, lutein, and phytochemicals. It is one of the best superfoods you can eat in the spring.
Adding More Spinach to Your Diet
This happens to be the perfect time of year to eat more spinach. Here are some ways to add more of it to your diet:
-Make a fruit smoothie and add spinach to it.
-Have a large spinach salad for lunch or dinner.
-Put your protein, like fish or chicken, on a bed of sautéed spinach.
If you want a little more protein in your diet, legumes are a fantastic source. These are also on the list of the best superfoods fo spring. Legumes have fiber, protein, and other nutrients that are going to improve your digestion, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help maintain stable blood sugar.
Benefits of Eating More Legumes
-You can have them on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
-They are easy to add to soup, chili, and other hot foods.
-You can eat them on cold or hot salads.
As far as fruits go, strawberries are among the best fruits to consume. They have a lot of antioxidants, similar to other berries, and are loaded with vitamin C as well. They’e also lower in sugar so it will decrease blood sugar fluctuations that can screw with our hormones.
There is another berry that provides many of the same nutrients, which are blueberries. These are loaded with antioxidants. Blueberries are delicious, low in fat, and easy to find in the spring and summer months.
With blueberries, you are not only getting antioxidants, but vitamin C and potassium. This superfood can help reduce your risk of cancer, is good for heart health, and provides nutrients important for general health and wellness.
Adding More Blueberries to Your Diet
Try these different ways to enjoy blueberries and their nutrients:
-Make a smoothie with blueberries, other fruits, and spinach.
-Make infused water with blueberries and mint.
-Try blueberries on your spring or summer salads.
-Enjoy blueberries on oatmeal
If you want vegetables that are a little different, you can try radishes. Radishes are a really fun vegetable that not many people think to try.
These are absolutely amazing for your digestive system and offer vitamin C, calcium, protein, and fiber. If you have digestive distress, try switching out your potatoes and complex or starchy carbs with radishes, and you will enjoy the difference.
Raw or Cooked?
The good news is that you can enjoy radishes raw. Slicing them super thin makes it easy to top salads or even soups.
Are you looking for something new to try? If so, why not arugula. This is a superfood that is available during the spring season and will add important vitamins and minerals to your meals.
Not only is it loaded with nutrients like magnesium, but it also has a peppery taste that can really spice up your foods.
You can make a mixed green salad with arugula and spinach, or make a pesto sauce that uses arugula with various herbs.
The last superfood on the list is oats. While a lot of fresh produce is great to have in your diet, sometimes you just want something warm and hearty.
A bowl of oatmeal is nutritious and often considered a comfort food, so it is good during the spring and year-round. In the spring, it tastes amazing with fresh fruits on top.
Oats are good for your brain thanks to the nutrients that help produce serotonin. It is also high in fiber which can help promote bowel regularity.
To make your oatmeal more hormone and blood sugar friendly, try to add in some protein and healthy fat (like chia seeds and almond butter) to keep you filling fuller longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels.
The spring season is the perfect time to switch things up in your diet, ensure you are getting adequate nutrition, and try some of these superfoods that can provide you with helpful nutrients and help balance your hormones.