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15 Most Powerful Spring Superfoods

Foods in season are at the peak of their nutritional value—which is why spring is the perfect time to stock on produce.

Background of fresh artichokes Ev Thomas/Shutterstock


While available in cans year-round, fresh artichokes are at their prime in the spring—and they’re packed with nutrients. Just one artichoke provides about 25 percent of your daily fiber needs alongside plenty of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Potassium and magnesium are both needed to build proteins, support energy production and metabolism, and maintain healthy nerve and heart function.

Artichokes are also rich in polyphenols, beneficial plant compounds that act as antioxidants. Research has found that the polyphenols in artichokes can help protect against breast cancer, while fiber and inulin in the thistle (yes, it’s in the thistle family) act as prebiotics—they feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.

Artichokes are part of these 18 vegan appetizers anyone can enjoy.

Close up fresh Asparagus in vegetable marketCHALITSA HONGTONG/Shutterstock


Asparagus popping up in farmers markets and on grocery store shelves is a sure sign of spring. The popular spring veggie has just 20 calories per cup, but over half of your daily needs for folate and nearly double your daily needs of vitamin K. Your body needs the nutrient to clot blood; it also helps your bones get the calcium they need to stay strong and healthy. Folate contributes to a healthy metabolism and neural development, so it’s especially important for pregnant women to support a baby’s developing brain. Asparagus is also a great source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that can help protect against many types of cancer.

For the perfect fresh flavors of spring, try this Asparagus Penne with Fresh Walnut Pesto!

Spring onionSumrit Suphondee/Shutterstock

Spring onions

Also known as green onions, these are a great source of phytochemicals like quercetin—an antioxidant that can help prevent heart disease and cancer. Spring onions are also high in sulphuric compounds that research suggests can reduce the incidence of chronic disease. These sulphuric compounds are especially effective when you eat them raw—not a problem since spring onions have a milder, sweeter flavor compared to white or red onions.

Red onions specifically have some great cancer-fighting benefits

green peas backgroundMaraZe/Shutterstock

Sweet peas

These tasty treats are one of the first vegetables to come into season in the spring. A cup of peas has 7 grams of fiber and 8 grams of filling protein, with about 100 percent of your daily needs for vitamin C and 25 percent of your vitamin A requirements. Green peas’ vitamin A content coupled with their high content of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin make them great for eye health. Peas are also one of our healthy foods that are even healthier than you previously thought.

A bunch of fresh organic red rhubarbBaloncici/Shutterstock


Rhubarb stalks look a little like pink celery, but they’ve got a very tart flavor that works well in sweet recipes. Rhubarb is in season from April through June, when the veggie is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin K, and B vitamins. Vitamin A is helpful for immune, skin, and eye health, vitamin K is essential for bone health, and B vitamins support a healthy metabolism.

Fennels. Fennel bulbs. Foeniculum vulgare harvest. parasolia/Shutterstock


Fennel’s refreshing anise flavor makes it a great vegetable to enjoy as the weather gets warmer, especially since it has much more than flavor going for it. The flowering plant has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries to solve digestive problems like cramping, bloating, and gas. Fennel is also a good source of anethole, an essential oil that has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

faba or fava beans soaked and cooked being drainedpaintings/Shutterstock

Fava beans

Fresh fava beans are in season from March to early May and are a great source of protein and fiber. One cup of fava beans has 9 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein, making them great for building muscle and refueling after a workout while helping to lower levels of LDL cholesterol.

Watercress backgroundNadalina/Shutterstock


This leafy green is a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as kale and broccoli. Since watercress greens are delicate, they thrive in cooler spring temperatures and wilt under summer’s harsh sun. The CDC considers cruciferous vegetables to be “powerhouse” vegetables, which help reduce your risk of chronic disease. One cup of watercress has just 4 calories, about a quarter of your daily recommendation for vitamins A and C, and over 100 percent of your daily recommendation for vitamin K. Here are some other powerhouse superfoods you didn’t know about.

Fresh red white organic radishes with leaves fresh from the garden, for sale at local farmers marketTom Clausen/Shutterstock

Radish and radish greens

Crisp radishes come into season in the spring, and you can eat their roots (the part most commonly sliced and eaten) and greens—they’re both nutrient-packed. Radish bulbs are crunchy and peppery, and they get their red skin from antioxidant pigments known as anthocyanins. Radish greens and bulbs are great sources of vitamin C, and the greens also deliver calcium, vitamin K, and potassium. Don’t miss these other 10 healthiest vegetables in the supermarket.

Background of fresh garlic scapeLizard/Shutterstock

Garlic scapes

These are the bulb’s flower stalks that emerge in spring; they have a mild garlic flavor without the spicy bite. Garlic scapes share many of the same nutritional benefits of garlic, such as glutathione, sulfur compounds, and other flavonoids that reduce the oxidative stress linked to cancer, liver and kidney disease, and other illnesses.

Ostrich fernKelly Marken/Shutterstock


Fiddleheads, sometimes called fiddlehead ferns, have a short mid-spring season. They have a flavor similar to asparagus with the crisp texture of green beans. Fiddleheads provide about three-quarters of your daily recommendation for vitamin A and about a third of your daily needs for niacin. Niacin is a B vitamin that’s essential for a healthy metabolism, nervous system, hair, skin, and eyes.

Green fresh leaves of mint close upAfrica Studio/Shutterstock


Like many fresh herbs, mint flourishes in the spring as the weather warms up. Used for centuries as a digestive aid and to treat headaches and nausea, mint’s medicinal properties continue to be researched today. Peppermint, in particular, is high in menthol, a compound that has soothes inflammation and may ease gastrointestinal symptoms. Here are some other benefits of peppermint you didn’t know about.

Tuft of fresh sorrel closeup. View top As agricultural backgroundAlexander Peskov/Shutterstock


Sorrel is a tart, lemony flavored green that’s in shines in spring. Each half-cup serving of sorrel greens has 2 grams of fiber and half of your daily recommendation for vitamin C. Your body requires vitamin C to make collagen, which keeps your skin springy and youthful-looking; collagen is also key to wound healing. The nutrient is also an antioxidant that helps prevent chronic diseases.

Close up of salmon fillet. Whole background.indigolotos/Shutterstock


You can easily find wild Pacific salmon in late spring, so be sure to add this superfood to your shopping list. The fish are a great source of omega-3’s— unsaturated fats that may protect your heart, your brain, and more thanks to the fat’s anti-inflammatory benefits. A 3-ounce serving of wild salmon has over 2,000 mg of omega-3’s, which is quadruple the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation for healthy adults. Salmon plays a prominent role in many of the best diets for heart health.

Laminaria (Kelp) Seaweed Isolated on White BackgroundJiang Zhongyan/Shutterstock


Sea kelp beds thrive between April and June, producing lots of nutrient-rich seaweed. Kelp is exceptionally high in iodine, a mineral vital to healthy thyroid function; your thyroid regulates hormones that keep your energy levels high, control your weight, and boost your mood. Most table salt is now fortified with iodine, but if you’re looking to cut back on salt, kelp is a great way to get more iodine.

Next, check out these superfoods that stand the test of time.

Christy Brissette, MS, RD
Christy Brissette, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and a leading nutrition and food communications expert. President of 80 Twenty Nutrition, a nutrition and food media company, her mission is to end food confusion and dieting once and for all. As a spokesperson, she is regularly interviewed on nutrition and health by CTV National News, CBC, The Globe and Mail, and many more. Her work as a nutrition and food writer, blogger, recipe developer, and YouTube video producer has been featured in Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, as well as many other national and international magazines.

In the earlier part of her career, Christy was the dietitian for cancer survivorship at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center (PMCC) in Toronto, Canada, one of the top five cancer centers in the world. During her time there, Christy created and delivered innovative nutrition education programs such as interactive live online nutrition and cooking classes that were streamed to other cancer centers across the country. While at the PMCC, Christy received their prestigious Innovation in Education Award and was recognized for using innovative and creative tools and strategies to foster a supportive learning environment and for stimulating critical thinking and problem solving through mentorship and an innovative approach. Christy is the recipient of the National Recognition Award from Dietitians of Canada, an honor chosen by her colleagues based on expanding the media footprint of dietitians. As the awards committee put it, “Christy is a role model for other dietitians interested in working with the media and representing the dietetics profession.”

Christy completed an Honors BASc in Nutrition and Food at Ryerson University where she later became an Advisory Committee member and guest lecturer. She completed the highly competitive dietetic internship at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and has a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Toronto. For her Master’s thesis, Christy ran a randomized control trial on the effects of different fibers on weight loss, glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Visit her site 80 Twenty Nutrition.