A mainstay of the simple Cantonese stir-fries I sometimes make , scallions or green onions are rich in the antioxidant quercetin, which helps to lower blood pressure and can help allergy sufferers as they act like a histamine. Scallions also contain vitamins A, C and K, as well as B-complex vitamins. But take note: if you use them raw as garnish or in a salad, make sure you wash them carefully to remove any dirt — less-than-clean scallions have been linked to outbreaks of hepatitis A.
This leafy green has been called the “first superfood.” It gives you a full share of vitamin C, folate, lutein, omega 3 fatty acids and zeaxanthin, a phytochemical that can help age-related macular degeneration. Even more (no wonder it was the food that gave superhuman strength to Popeye), spinach contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents and can help to strengthen your bones.
Forget about those bricks of frozen spinach in the freezer case. Spring is the optimum time to eat spinach as, says OrganicGardening.com, warm days and “cold, nearly frosty nights” draw out its natural sugars best.
Rhubarb is a vegetable that is usually treated as a fruit; it belongs to the same family as sorrel and buckwheat. Sour, fibrous and containing few calories, the stems (the only edible part of the plant — the leaves are toxic) must be cooked to be eaten in pies, jam and chutneys. It is used as a diuretic and laxative and also contains potassium and vitamin C. One study suggests that chemicals extracted from rhubarb called polyphenols could point the way to new drug treatments for leukemia and other cancers.
Another bright red spring superfood, radishes, can provide you with a good wallop of your daily vitamin C requirement; you’ll get even more if you eat the leaves. As radishes have a high water and fiber content, they can add bulk and crunch to your meals with fewer calories. Even more beneficial is combining radishes with broccoli as their cancer-fighting compounds are enhanced by myrosinase, an enzyme in radishes.
Wishing you a very nutritious, and colorful, start to the spring!
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