As the weather warms up a whole new range of fruit and vegetables start to come in to season. Nutritionist, Libby Matthews, believes that food should be used as medicine, and together with her sister, Julia, pen a blog about their holistic living. We asked Libby for her top six spring fruit and veg that you should get in to your life. To make them even more alluring (not that they need it), the team at Food Hub have offered a recipe suggestion for you to try.
These little gems are a rich source of vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B2 and beta carotene, Libby says. Beta carotene - responsible for the beautiful yellow and purple colour of the passionfruit - is an antioxidant that helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and reduces oxidation damage that is caused by free radicals which are molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage. Passionfruit is used to relax the nervous system and relieve headaches. It has a mild laxative effect which aids bowel action and is used to help digestive problems and for those suffering from constipation.
Recipe: Mango, coconut and passionfruit lassi.
This is one of the most nutritious fruits you can get. Avocados contain vitamins A, C, E, K, B and important essential nutrients including potassium (30 per cent more than a banana), fibre and folic acid. They contain good quality fats called mono-saturated fats, which help reduce LDL cholesterol, they are also great for people with diabetes as they lower triglycerides in the blood. The good quality fats allows your body to create strong but flexible cell membranes that can receive nutrients and excrete wastes efficiently and aid in detoxification.
Recipe: Chicken and avocado salad.
This citrus fruit is one of the most alkaline-forming foods for the body, making them highly beneficial for balancing an acidic condition in the body. They are rich in vitamin C and flavanoids that help protect the body against infections like colds and flu. By starting off your morning with a warm water and lemon drink you are increasing peristalsis which speeds up the immune system and helps create a bowel movement which will then eliminate toxins in the body. Lemon also acts as a liver stimulant, dissolvent of uric acid and purges toxins and hydrates the body and lymphatic system.
Recipe: Spaghetti with chicken, chilli, lemon and rocket.
These are the perfect fruit for the warmer months. Strawberries are packed full of nutrients like vitamin C, which is a well known immunity booster and antioxidant. Strawberries contain anthocyanins, which are what gives strawberries their delicious red colour. The anthocyanins help treat high blood pressure, colds, flus and urinary tract infections. Strawberries are rich in biotin, which helps make strong hair and nails. They also contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects the elastic fibers in our skin to prevent sagging.
Nectarines are a low calorie fruit, making them perfect for people who want to lose weight. They are high in fibre, which helps to prevent constipation, regulate blood sugar levels, control blood cholesterol levels and promote good gut health. Nectarines are also high in vital nutrients including niacin, thiamine, potassium and calcium. To get the most health benefits, don't peel your nectarine - a large percentage of the nutrients are found in and under the skin.
Recipe: Poached chicken and nectarine salad.
This is one of the worlds oldest vegetables prepared as food and is commonly used in herbal medicine. Globe artichokes are a rich source of dietary fibre, which helps your digestive system to process food, absorb nutrients, lower blood cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels and help to excrete toxins. They are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, biotin and potassium. They help the liver and gallbladder to function efficiently and work as a mild diuretic, which can reduce swelling.
Recipe: Roasted garlic chicken with artichokes and silverbeet.
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