Season’s Eats: Strawberries, Spinach, and Walnuts
By Jillian Kaplan
Roots for Life Marketing and Communications Volunteer
Hey folks. Happy spring! I know I’m not the only one who’s thrilled to finally be having some warm, gorgeous weather. Here at Roots for Life we hope you’re getting to enjoy fresh air and some sweet spring-time nourishments.
Now that winter’s behind us, we’re excited to talk about some warm-weather dish ideas. Why east seasonally? Eating what’s in season usually means food is fresher and more nutrient-dense. It helps you vary up your diet so that you eat a variety of foods, which is very important for getting a mixture of vitamins and minerals. It also helps support local farmers and their harvests. This post is dedicated to spring, and all the delicious things that come with it.
In particularly, we’d like to do a three-for-one seasonal food highlight, packing the punch with strawberries, spinach, and walnuts.
Why Eat Strawberries? (Other than that they’re delicious)
They’re good for your heart. According to a Harvard Health Study, Strawberries are rich in chemical compounds called anthocyanins. Research suggests that anthocyanins have several effects on the body. They lower blood pressure, and they make blood vessels more elastic. The study links strawberry (and blueberry) consumption with improved heart health.
They’re a sweet way for kids to get vitamins and nutrients. Eight strawberries will provide 140 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for kids.
They’re full of fiber. The carb content of strawberries is 26% fiber. Dietary fibers are important for balancing the good bacteria in your gut and improving digestive health.
Why Eat Spinach?
It’s a good source of iron. Iron is essential in delivering oxygen throughout the body and helping you feel energized. Spinach is very rich in iron. Combine spinach with vitamin-C-rich foods such as oranges (or strawberries!) to increase iron absorption from the good green stuff.
It’s great for digestive health. It will help aid in the digestive process, and can ease constipation if you find yourself suffering from that. It also protects the stomach’s mucus lining, and flushes toxins from the colon.
It’s versatile! Spinach can be added to a huge variety of dishes: Boil or Sautee it and throw it in with rice or meat. Or eat raw, washed spinach as a base or mixed with other greens in any kind of salad. Raw or cooked, you still get lots of nutrients. When you eat spinach that has been cooked, your body absorbs higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron. However, eating raw and fresh will give you a higher intake of vitamin C.
Why Eat Walnuts?
They’ve got tons of antioxidants. In fact, walnuts have a higher antioxidant count than any other nut. Antioxidants are important for preventing or stopping cell damage.
They could help decrease inflammation. Polyphenols in walnuts help lower inflammation, which is the root cause of many chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
They promote gut health. Like spinach, walnuts can help promote the beneficial bacteria in your gut. This is beneficial for your immune system, digestion, and overall health.
Want to combine these three powerful foods into one vitamin-C-rich, sweet, tasty dish?
This recipe can be found at www.tsirona.com.
8 cups baby spinach leaves
4 cups strawberries, fresh sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup crumbled feta
½ cup walnuts, chopped (or other favorite nut or seed)
In a small bowl, whisk together the following:
½ virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic (or raspberry-infused wine vinegar for a lighter, less sweet option)
2 Tbsp honey
Pinch smoked paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large bowl, gently toss all salad ingredients.
Pour dressing over top and toss gently to just combine.
Sprinkle feta over the top of salad or just on individual plates as it can get mashed into the salad very easily.
The spinach can wilt after a day or two, so this salad is best served immediately. Enjoy this sweet combination to celebrate the start of spring and fill up on iron and vitamin C.