Spring into health with these seasonal eats

woman eating strawberries
Eat the seasons: add these items to your weekly shop to reap their delicious benefits Credit: Getty

To help you eat well with ease, we’ve rounded up the best spring vegetables, fruit and shellfish and some simple recipe ideas so you can work them into your daily meals

Daffodils, crocuses, cherry blossom – spring is the season of the new and with it comes a whole host of seasonal foods to complement the vitamin D you can finally reap from the sunshine again. “Spring is all about moving away from the heavy foods of winter, to choosing lighter, fresher, nutrient-rich ingredients,” says nutritionist Alix Woods. “Selecting foods that are in season means that they’re generally more flavoursome and nutrient- dense in comparison to their out-of-season counterparts.” For some tasty, healthy and benefit-packed food ideas, load up your shopping basket with these tasty all-stars and get ready to feel spring-fresh!

Rhubarb

Hands down the most superior ingredient for a tangy crumble, rhubarb is rich in powerful antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, giving it its bright red colour. “The redder the rhubarb, the greater the anthocyanin content,” says Alix. Poach with ginger and serve with a generous swirl of fresh, vanilla-laden custard for a simple, nutritious dessert.

The redder the better: look for vibrant rhubarb for the best benefits Credit: Getty

Purple sprouting broccoli

At its tastiest, tenderest best between now and April, PSB has higher levels of antioxidants than green broccoli, according to a 2012 study. Anthocyanins star again, hence the deep purple colour. And along with vitamin K, “PSB is a top source of vitamin C, containing more than oranges,” says Alix. “Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of skin and the immune system – it’s easily destroyed by heat, so lightly steam or eat raw.” Utterly delicious tossed with fried garlic and sesame oil, or drizzled with a tahini dressing.

Soft touch: choose a quick cook for PSB to retain its goodness Credit: Getty

Watercress

“This leafy green not only has a delicious peppery flavour, it’s also an extremely rich source of vitamin K,” says Alix. “In fact, just 34g contains more than 100 per cent of our daily requirement. Vitamin K contributes to normal blood clotting and can help maintain strong bones. Since it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, adding fat such as avocado or olive oil to watercress can help to increase absorption.” Layer it with avocado, grilled mackerel and horseradish on toasted sourdough, and drizzle with olive oil for a quick and nutrient- packed lunch.

Peppery punch: this versatile veg packs a vitamin-packed kick Credit: Getty

Spring greens

A beautiful dark-green leafy veg that truly signifies the shift from winter to spring foods – it belongs to the brassica family, but doesn’t have the crunchy heart of cabbages and the leaves are more delicate. “It’s a source of folate, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue,” says Alix. It’s also packed with vitamin C. “To maximise the nutrients, either eat raw in a spring salad or only lightly steam,” says Alix. If you shred finely and fry it, it does a good job at imitating crispy seaweed.

Wake up call: introduce this leafy veg into your diet for instant pick-me-up Credit: Alamy

Clams

Now is the time that you can buy these delicate little shellfish with a clear conscience, according to the Marine Conservation Society. Buy those that are hand-gathered or raked. “They’re a rich source of iron,” says Alix. “Just 100g provides up to 8mg iron and NHS guidelines are 8.7 mg/day for men and 14.8 mg/day for premenopausal women. Iron contributes to the normal formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells, which transports oxygen in the blood.” Adds Alix: “Vitamin C can increase the absorption of iron, so include some vitamin C-rich veg alongside.” Serving samphire seaweed or pea shoots with a classic spaghetti vongole is a winning nutrient/taste combination.

Sustainable seafood: work clams through a simple spaghetti sauce for a tasty supper dish Credit: Getty

Blood oranges

Gloriously tangy with a hint of raspberry, they pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. Anthocyanins pop up yet again (not common in citrus fruits), responsible for their deep red colour, and vitamin C features heavily. Setting out chunks of blood orange with grilled asparagus and feta, sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts and drizzled with vinaigrette is an antioxidant-rich dish you’ll want to serve all spring long.

Citrus spring: add some tangy sweetness to the season with beautiful blood oranges Credit: Getty
Micronutrients made easy

To help you support your health and well-being outside and in, Centrum has partnered with Telegraph Spark to help you make small yet effective changes*.

Centrum wants to motivate you to boost your health in a simple, enjoyable and sustainable way. Working with leading experts and nutritionists, exercise and wellness brands, we have curated a wealth of tip-packed, easy-to-follow content from healthy eating ideas to on-trend activities and ways to de-stress and relax. Centrum’s range of multivitamins is specially tailored to help support you every day based on your age, gender, lifestyle and needs.*

To find out more, and discover which Centrum is right for you, visit centrum.co.uk

*Multivitamins are intended to supplement your diet and should not be regarded as a substitute for a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle. Centrum contains vitamin D, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system, and vitamin B12, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.