So, you may ask, which ones should we be choosing most often? The best options during the Spring months include: organic strawberries, pineapple, organic spinach, organic broccoli and mustard greens, which are currently in season and among the most economical this time of year.
Research has also shown that eating a plant-based diet rich in not only vegetables and fruits, but including whole grains and beans can reduce your risk for cancer. Buying foods in season keeps your diet fresh and helps you build confidence in your food choices, while supporting your long-term health goals. Below are a few tips for purchasing the best Spring fruit and vegetable options:
One cup of strawberries contains 46 calories and costs 89 cents. Did you know? This tasty fruit offers protection from breast, skin, bladder, esophageal and lung cancers. The best strawberries will be firm to the touch, bright red in color, will still have their green cap attached and are free of mold or damage.
One cup of pineapple contains only 82 calories and costs 70 cents. This fat-free, yet satisfying fruit is both low and sodium AND rich in immune-boosting Vitamin C. Pineapple should be firm to the touch (no soft or dark spots) and should have dry-looking leaves.
Take not of this! One cup of raw spinach contains just 7 calories and costs 52 cents. Spinach is not only high in fiber, but it also contains folate and important antioxidants that may protect the body from cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. You'll want to enjoy spinach that is crisp and green, and avoid leaves that look wilted or have insect damage.
One cup of mustard greens cooked without salt or added fats contains 21 calories and costs 81 cents. This is a great alternative to spinach, as it offers the same cancer-fighting properties. Leaves should look fresh and tender, and avoid those that have discoloration or damage.
One cup of chopped broccoli cooked without salt contains 30 calories and costs 63 cents. This hapens to be one of my favorite vegetables for it's taste along, but it is also packed with folate, fiber and antioxidants that may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Broccoli should be odorless with tight, bluish-green florets.