Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth and energy. As a general rule, we want to eat foods that are in season, which will balance out your internal state in accordance with the weather conditions; warming foods when its cold, cooling foods when its hot, and moistening foods when its dry. Eating foods according to the seasons will help to prevent illnesses and promote balance in your body allowing for optimal health. Because the yang qi of the liver is pushing upward and outward, it is common to feel and express anger in spring. It’s also an auspicious time to focus on releasing emotions that no longer serve us—specifically those rooted in anger, resentment, frustration, and lethargy.
Pungent and sweet foods to balance out the effects of spring include: yams, leeks, mushrooms, cilantro, spinach (and other leafy greens), onion, mustard greens, turnips, carrots, bok choy, litchi fruit, cinnamon, chicken and beef.
Sprouts: possess all the energetic and nutrient potential of the plant they will become. Easy to digest, possessing little if any fats they are high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Add them to salads, toss them into stir fry or add them soups at the last minutes.
Radishes: pungent in flavor, radishes are perfect for the spring time. They help move liver Qi and open up the liver meridian.
Scallion (spring onion, green onion): are practically bursting with vitamin K. In fact, just a half cup can meet and exceed your vitamin K requirement for the entire day. Vitamin K is a necessary nutrient for many aspects of health, but its critical role in blood clotting stands out in particular.
Ramsons: the herb has similar medicinal virtues as common garlic and is often recommended as a digestive cleanser and to promote healing in chronic skin outbreaks and infections. German researchers list the use of Ramsons garlic herb in folk medicine as a carminative for treating gastrointestinal upsets to expel gas. Ramsons garlic is also believed to prevent high vascular tension, high cholesterol, and other circulatory problems.
Spinach: he various health benefits of spinach are due to the presence of minerals, vitamins, pigments, and phytonutrients, including potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. According to USDA National Nutrient Database, the green leafy vegetable is a source of vitamins like folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, and contains traces of the rest of the essential vitamins. Other important elements, including thiamine and riboflavin, which are used in various reactions in our body, are also found in this green, leafy vegetable. The best part is that spinach is very low in calories and has no fat content.
Lettuce: contains moisture, energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and sugars. The minerals and vitamins found in it include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc along with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, C, A, E, and vitamin K. Lettuce possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help in controlling inflammation. In experimental models, lettuce extracts have shown significant controlling power over inflammation induced by biocatalysts like lipoxygenase and carrageenan.
Sorrel: has a very significant level of potassium (1 cup contains 15% of your daily recommended intake), which is an essential mineral for human health. Potassium is a vasodilator, hence is instrumental in maintaining fluid balance throughout the body. This means that it reduces stress on the cardiovascular system by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries. Lowered blood pressure reduces the chances of dangerous blood clotting and excessive strain on the heart that can lead to coronary heart disease and other complications.
Dandelion: The antioxidants like vitamin C and luteolin, in dandelions, keep the liver functioning in optimal gear. These nutrients also protect it from toxins and may help treat hemorrhaging in the liver. Also, the Korea Food Research Institute has found that dandelion leaf extract is very helpful in providing relief from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Artichockes : regular consumption of artichoke extract may help protect your liver from damage and help relieve symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Artichoke leaf extract may maintain digestive health by boosting friendly gut bacteria and alleviating symptoms of indigestion.
Stinging Nettle: the wide range of beneficial nutrients found in stinging nettle makes it an ideal detoxifier for the body and it has been known to gently cleanse the body of toxins. As a diuretic, it can also ensure that those toxins being neutralized in the body are then eliminated quickly, says the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. It helps improve the nutrient uptake efficiency of the gut and ensures that the digestive processes run smoothly, thereby preventing the accumulation of dangerous toxins. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, helping rid the body of excess toxins in the kidneys as well.
New potatoes: they are easy to digest and they also facilitate digestion. This property makes them a good diet for babies or for those who cannot digest hard food, but need energy. However, remember that eating too many of them on a regular basis may cause acidity over time. Potatoes also contain a considerable amount of fiber or roughage, which is more in raw potatoes and cold ones than boiled or hot ones. This stimulates peristaltic motion and increases secretion of gastric juices, which eases digestion and prevents conditions like constipation. Vitamin C and B-complex, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, are good for the skin. Apart from that, the pulp obtained from crushed raw potatoes, when mixed with honey, can work well in skin and face packs. This even helps cure pimples and spots on the skin. Again, this pulp, if applied externally on burns, provides quick relief and faster healing.
Strawberries: have high levels of heart-healthy antioxidants such as ellagic acid and flavonoids like anthocyanin, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol. According to a 2004 research report by Susan Hannum, Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois, these phenolic compounds help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by inhibiting the formation of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. The anti-inflammatory power of the antioxidants in strawberries helps reduce the formation of blood clots that are linked with stroke. Dr. Michael Murphy and Dr. Thomas Krieg from the University of Cambridge, UK discovered during their research that chemicals called malonate esters help stop organ damage and prevents blood clots. The research indicates that malonate esters are naturally available in strawberries, apples, and grapes.
Cherries: contain powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins and cyanidin. One study found the antioxidant activity of these substances isolated from tart cherries was superior to that of vitamin E and comparable to commercially available antioxidant products.2Cherries contain natural melatonin, which is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that helps “cool down” excess inflammation and associated oxidative stress. It also plays a vital role in sleep and bodily regeneration. Athletes who consumed tart cherry juice prior to long-distance running experienced less pain than those who did not. It’s thought that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries may have a protective effect to reduce muscle damage and pain during strenuous exercise.