I love having new vegetables come into season. This month I wanted to highlight a favorite of mine as I go through my pregnancy, a wild nutrient-dense food and a food that is often forgotten about or overlooked.
Asparagus is a mark of spring for me! It is fresh and I love the versatility. I can grill it, puree it (chilled asparagus soup is delicious), sauté it, bake it...so many options. I also like that this tasty veggie is full of nutrients. It is rich in fiber which helps your digestive track. It also contains high levels of asparagine, an amino acid that is a natural diuretic and therefore eating more spears helps flush excess fluid and salt from your body. Another health benefit is that asparagus is rich in folic acid. Folic acid helps protect against neural tube defect and reduces the risk of premature birth. Since I am pregnant my diet is especially important to me because what I eat impacts the health of my child. Knowing what foods have helpful nutrients means I can make good decisions for both me and the little one who's on the way.
Stinging nettles are something you want to avoid when on a hike but they have several medicinal benefits. You must prepare them properly by heating them so the irritating chemicals are destroyed. Stinging nettles can help reduce inflammation which can help those who have arthritis or other ailments caused by inflammation. Another interesting fact is that stinging nettles are one of the most nutrient-dense wild foods - they even have more protein and calcium than kale!
Watercress is an aquatic vegetable that is invasive in the U.S. but is believed to be native to water source from Europe to Asia. I often use watercress as a garnish for a bit of a fresh spicy flavor and salads. It is rich in vitamin K and is also an excellent source of Beta-carotene and potassium.