Spring Has Sprung & Summer is on its Way
Tips on how to fuel your body with the good stuff | By Angela Garrick I Physiotherapist
With the warm weather of spring comes a change in fresh foods available. What are you going to do this month to keep your diet balanced?
What vegetables are 'in' for spring? How much protein should you be eating? Super foods that will boost your body!
Eating fruit and vegetables that are in season ensures you're getting the best health benefits and the freshest food. Produce that is not in season has to be transported from different climates resulting in not only a greater carbon foot print but also a longer time from picking to eating meaning less nutrients and worse still, less flavour.
The following fruits are in season now:
banana, blood orange, cherry, cumquat, grapefruit, honeydew, lemon, loquat, lychee, mandarin, mango,papaya, pineapple, rhubarb, rockmelon, seville orange, strawberry, tangelo, valencia orange, watermelon
The following vegetables are in season now:
artichoke, asparagus, avocado, beans, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, leek, lettuce, peas, potato, silver beet, snow peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, sweetcorn, tomato, zucchini
'Zucchetti' with pesto & Spring Greens
One day I came across a recipe for Lazy Girl's Zucchini Spaghetti and thought it was a perfect fit. When you don't have much time, cooking healthy food can fly out the window. This takes just minutes, tastes am-az-ing, and is super healthy.
Don't forget dessert!!
Another plus side of the warmer months is that it is easier to get away with healthy desserts - no more heavy apple pie or sticky date pudding.
The fruits on the list above inspire lighter, fresher desserts.
- Stew some rhubarb and strawberries in a bit of fresh orange juice, add some lychees for sweetness.
- Make a salsa of mango, rockmelon and papaya drizzled with some lemon juice.
- Layer these fruits with some yogurt, banana-pineapple, or cream (if you're due a treat) in a glass and sprinkle some granola on top.
Protein - how much should you be eating?
Protein is the basic building block for everything in our bodies and it is therefore a crucial part of a healthy diet.
Protein for Weight Loss
Protein consumption helps weight loss by increasing metabolism and reducing appetite. A 30% calorie in take of protein seems to be optimal for weight loss. This means for an average 2000 calorie diet, 150g of protein should be eaten daily.
Protein for Strength Gaining
Muscles are made up mostly of proteins. To gain muscle the body must be synthesizing more protein than it is breaking down. To gain muscle people must therefore eat higher quantities of protein. 1.5-2.2g of protein per kg of body weight is recommended for those trying to build muscle. People who generally live an active lifestyle need more protein than those with a sedentary lifestyle.
Elderly people also need up to 50% extra protein in their diet to help reduce osteoporosis and sarcopenia (reduction in muscle mass). Further more high protein in the diet has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes.
Super Foods for a Super Body
Not all foods are created equal.
There are some foods out there that have differing effects on our bodies and provide different benefits through natural processes/active ingredients.
Try some of the following this spring:
- Walnuts - good for mood - they contain tryptophan which our body needs to create Seratonin, the feel-good chemical in our brains
- Spring Garlic - good for weight loss - packed full of Allicin you may overeat less as this compound promotes satiety.
- Spinach - good for energy - spinach is full of iron, a key component of the red blood cells that bring oxygen to the muscles. It has also recently been shown that spinach improves the efficiency of the mitochondria - the power houses of our cells.
- Salmon - good for your skin - salmon is full of EPA fatty acid which helps block the release of the enzymes that diminish collagen and cause lines and sagging. Further more it can regulate oil production and increase skin hydration.
- Blueberries - good for your memory - these dark berries are packed full of anthocyanins which, in animals studies, have been shown to enhance learning and memory by increasing signals among brain cells as well as their resilience.
- Asparagus - good for mood - one cup contains 2/3 of the average RDI of the B vitamin Folate which is crucial in the production of dopamine, setatonin and norepinephrine.
- Legumes - good for weight loss - the high fiber content in beans means your body has to work so hard to break it down that the number of calories left over is reduced. The high protein content also provides a more satisfied feeling post-eating
- Artichokes - good for energy - artichokes are packed full of magnesium. 68% of us aren't getting enough magnesium which mean our muscles have to work harder to react and we fatigue more easily.
- Strawberries - good for your skin - these can help with a nice smooth complexion by repairing damage caused by pollution and UV rays. They are high in Vitamin C which has been associated with fewer wrinkles and reduced dryness.