Spring Fare: Healthy Foods That Make You Feel Good

Spring is many people’s favorite season for obvious reasons, including trips to the Philadelphia produce market, when it is so enjoyable to go out and be outside.

Food is another good reason. We all look forward to the foods that are largely available only in the late spring and summer months. Most of us eagerly anticipate summer fruits and vegetables, as well as the different dishes that signify spring and warmer weather, like cold soups and creative salads.

Although Philadelphia enjoyed a relatively mild winter (despite one of the largest single snowfalls ever), the lack of sunlight in the winter months always takes a toll. Indeed, lots of people suffer from seasonal mood disorder due to lack of sunlight. So, spring is always a much-needed turn of mood, as well as of season.

Food can provide a healthy mood boost to us, no matter the season.  Foods that are better avoided (like candy), or intake of additional caffeine through coffee, tea, and chocolate certainly have their value and can provide uplift at much-needed moments.

Healthy, spring-like foods have positive mood and energy qualities, which are good for your metabolism and skin, and may even improve your focus. Here are just a few—which you can find at your Philadelphia market at the Fareway in Chestnut Hill.

Walnuts are packed with tryptophan, an amino acid that your body needs to create the feel-great chemical serotonin. They are also digested slowly, which may help with stress and general mood stability.

Asparagus is one of the best vegetable sources for folate, a B vitamin that may provide mood uplift. Folate also helps new tissue and proteins form, as well as providing a brain boost.

Spring garlic has a milder, sweeter taste than the dried white bulbs available later in the season. The slimming benefit of this seasonal vegetable is that it contains a compound called Allicin, stimulating a sense of satiety in the brain (it also gives garlic its pungent smell).

Spinach is a great source of iron, especially for vegetarians. Iron is critical for red blood cells, which fuel our muscles with oxygen.

Artichokes are chock-full of magnesium, which is vital for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including energy-generation. Without enough magnesium, muscles need to work harder and bodies tire more quickly.

Eggs, a popular item at this time of year for Easter and egg hunts, have tons of choline, which is a key factor in recall. The brain needs choline to make the brain chemical acetylcholine, vital for memory storage.