Now that the weather is a wee bit warmer, many of us are thinking about getting outdoors to enjoy the spring air and sunshine.
May offers a welcome chance to get out there and be active, whether it's by taking a walk with friends (good for the body and the soul!), enjoying a bike ride or -- depending on the temperatures where you live -- taking a refreshing dip in the nearest body of water.
All of those activities require fuel, which can come from eating healthy foods -- particularly the fruits and vegetables that are at their peak this time of year.
So what are our picks for May superfoods? Take a look at our list. Then, as always, let us know if there are any in-season favorites you can't believe we overlooked.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> They're a cross between a raspberry and a blueberry -- both nutritious and delicious fruits (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/cognitive-impairment-study-berries_n_1453557.html" target="_hplink">check out that recent study on how eating berries may help stave off cognitive decline</a>). The question is: what's not to love? <br><br> <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Look for berries that are plump and firm and then just eat them as-is. You can also add them to oatmeal or yogurts at breakfast, toss 'em into fruit salads or make them into jams.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> So tasty! So sweet! So superbly summery! Apricots typically start to come into season in mid-May. To top that all off, this juicy fruit is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber and potassium. <br><br> <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Apricots are another great grab-and-go option, or you can add a few to a sweet (or savory) salad. Apricots are also great in tarts or healthy desserts.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> Radishes are a crisp, low-calorie spring snacking option, which, <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/524874-how-nutritious-are-radishes/" target="_hplink">according to Livestrong,</a> are packed with vitamins and have a high water content. According to that site, they'll help keep you fuller longer. <br><br> <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Chop them up and toss a few radishes into a salad for a bit of peppery crunch. To shake it up a little bit, try throwing a few onto the grill.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> They're creamy, delicious and satisfying. Plus, <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/8-healthy-facts-about-avocados" target="_hplink">as WebMD reports, </a>they're a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamins C and K, folate, and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. <br><br> <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> With so many varieties, many people find that avocados are basically in-season all year round in their grocery. However, this is May, a.k.a. the month of Cinco de Mayo, which brings up a great, fresh way to enjoy avocados: in guacamole. They're also a good option on sandwiches, providing a bit of the creaminess that we often try to get from less nutritious options, like mayonaise.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/433633-how-to-cook-morel-mushrooms/" target="_hplink">Livestrong puts it perfectly</a> when it says: "Morel mushrooms are a much-anticipated springtime treat in the United States." While they can be a bit pricey (meaning eating a lot in order to get serious nutritional benefits may not be a possibility), they do supply B vitamins, potassium and phosphorus. <br><br> <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Use these spongy mushrooms to help flavor whatever protein you're serving for dinner (the Internet is chock full of recipes for morels and chicken, for example). Another option -- try throwing them on the grill.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> In case you haven't heard, leafy greens are seriously good for your health -- and dandelion greens pack a particularly strong punch. They're high in folate and magnesium, as well as phosphorus and copper. And <a href="http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/dandelion-greens-nutrition-selection-storage" target="_hplink">as Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters</a> (the public health initiative) points out, these slightly peppery, bitter greens are loaded with beta-carotene. <br><br> <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> <a href="http://www.yumsugar.com/How-Enjoy-Dandelion-Greens-2950313" target="_hplink">YumSugar offers up plenty of options,</a> from just washing, trimming and tossing a few into your next salad to the slightly more involved provencal soup. Other options? Saute with garlic or try stewing them.
<strong>Why we love it:</strong> Arugula is another stand-out leafy green. <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/5381-need-health-benefits-arugula/" target="_hplink">As Livestrong points out,</a> arugula seriously beats out other salad bases, like iceberg lettuce. "Arugula contains about eight times the calcium, fives times the vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, and four times the iron as the same amount of iceberg lettuce," that site<a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/5381-need-health-benefits-arugula/" target="_hplink"> reports.</a> <br><br> <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Two words: spring salads. You can also try adding arugula to pasta dishes or atop bruschetta.