FOODS OF THE SEASON - APRIL
There’s no comparison for fresh seasonal food. You can smell the goodness when you snap it off the stalk and research confirms its nutritional superiority.
Once picked, vegetables immediately start to lose their precious vitamins and minerals. In fact, a 2010 study by the Institute for Food Research found that fresh vegetables can lose up to 45 per cent of their nutritional value between being picked and landing on a grocery store shelf.
So make a commitment this spring to look for what’s in season. Some of it will be obvious – think ‘spring onions’ and British asparagus – other vegetables like rhubarb and rocket are less well known for being in season now – unless you’ve been gleefully watching the leaves emerge in your own patch.
Not only is eating in season good for the planet – think of those air miles you’re saving – but it’s also better for you.
Jersey Royal New Potatoes:
Potatoes have developed a bad rep thanks to their ubiquity in fast-food products such as fries and crisps, but they are in fact rich in insoluble and soluble fibre (to promote regularity) as well as Vitamin C and magnesium.
They are also rich in B6, which is important for the production of serotonin - the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. No wonder they come top of the list of comfort foods.
Finally, potatoes are an alkaline forming vegetable. They bind to acids in the stomach to create an alkaline effect in the whole body, according to Dr. Stephan Domenig, medical director of the Original F.X. Mayr Health Centre and author of The Alkaline Cure.
If you’re thinking of removing this from your dinner party menu, for fear of the odour that might lurk in your bathroom afterwards, you might want to reconsider.
Asparagus can ward off a hangover and protect liver cells from the toxins in alcohol according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science.
Thanks to the high levels of potassium and vitamin A, E and C, it’s also an anti-ageing vegetable.
So buy yourself a natural scented bathroom candle just in case and kick off your next evening of entertaining with some lightly steamed asparagus spears dipped in Natasha’s Honestly Healthy Hollandaise sauce.
Make sure you have room for dessert.
Rhubarb - best known for its starring role in a crumble - gives your bones a boost thanks to the vitamin K it contains.
Several studies also suggest rhubarb can also help to protect against stomach and pancreatic cancer. Just remember to leave the leaves alone! They are poisonous.
Love your liver by munching on this peppery spring salad leaf. All bitter greens are fantastic for supporting your liver and detoxifying the body.
Rocket is also packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene to improve your vision. Added bonus? The glucosinolates in rocket will aid oestrogen metabolism, which can help to regulate your hormones and lower your risk of breast cancer.
Did we mention that rocket can help to lift your libido too?
Combining watercress with rocket, spring onions, sweet potato and pumpkin seeds is not also the perfect spring lunch but it also does wonders for clear skin and a brighter mood.
Watercress is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients to boost your vision, and also comes with broad-spectrum anti-cancer benefits.
Mounting evidence suggests that watercress may lower the risk of prostate, colon and breast cancers, and may stop cancer spreading.
By our Hero Laura Bond
This April, she is leading an Anti-Ageing Superfit Superfood Tour. Go to www.laura-bond.com to find out more and book your ticket.