Feeling trapped by the icy winter weather? Here’s an activity that’ll have the whole family dreaming of spring: Start planning your 2013 vegetable garden.
Here’s a list of healthful foods to consider planting this year:
Broccoli: Broccoli makes all the super-food lists. According to research, it’s a cancer-fighter, it lowers blood pressure, and it might even fight depression. It’s chock-full of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium — and more vitamin C than an orange. Be sure to get your broccoli in the ground early, though — it does best in cool spring or fall weather.
Dandelion: If you’re a lawn lover, the idea of intentionally planting dandelions might take a little bit of getting used to. But it turns out that dandelions are another health promoter that you don’t want to miss. Dandelion greens are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene, plus vitamin C, iron, fiber, and calcium. Research shows that these bitter greens can help keep you regular and stabilize your blood sugar; they might even help reduce cholesterol.
Kale: Here’s another one that’s good to get in the ground early. Kale is loaded with vitamin K, which is great for bone health. It’s also a cancer fighter, thanks to high levels of sulforaphane and indoles. Try making kale chips: Wash each leaf and dry thoroughly, then rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast in a 350-degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Onions: Get a little help battling off cold and flu symptoms — and hay fever — by including onions in your spring garden. The quercetin in onions is a natural antihistamine. Onions are also a good bet if you have arthritis, since they can be effective inflammation fighters.
Tomatoes: OK, you were probably going to plant these anyway — but isn’t it great to know that eating a lot of tomatoes might help ward off prostate cancer? Another benefit: Some studies say that tomatoes can help boost male fertility. The amazing benefits of tomatoes are thanks to the antioxidant lycopene. Imagine how tasty your lycopene will be when you pluck a sunshine-warmed tomato from the vine in just a few months.
[About the Author: Kate Antheil Boyd is VP of Content for Caring.com, the leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. Discover more cancer-fighting foods, including blueberries, green tea, and garlic on the caring.com website. Image: SweetOnVeg]