As the season of rebirth and growth begins, it becomes much easier to eat seasonally with fresh spring fruits and vegetables — and what’s better than the sweet, juicy flavor of fruits that are harvested at the peak of their seasons?
Not only are fresh spring fruits excellent additions to breakfast yogurts, cereals, smoothies, salads and salsas, but they are crazy nutritious — providing a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost overall health.
Top 10 Spring Fruits
Strawberries are juicy, sweet fruits that are low in calories and high in nutrients, including vitamin C, manganese, fiber and antioxidants, such as anthocyanins. Eating strawberries boosts your body’s defense against oxidative stress that causes chronic disease. Strawberry nutrition also allows it to benefit brain health due to its flavonoid content and promote detoxification.
Strawberry season begins at the very end of spring, in June, and lasts into August. Choose strawberries that have a bright red color and don’t show signs of bruising or mushiness.
These spring fruits are very versatile and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, baked goods and salads. Try this Strawberry Banana Smoothie recipe and this Strawberry Spinach Salad with poppy seed dressing.
Spring is the peak season for pineapples and when they’re at their tastiest. These tropical spring fruits are high in vitamin C, manganese and bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion and reduces inflammation.
Pineapples also contain antioxidants that help protect against cellular damage and disease, and they support a healthy immune system.
When buying a pineapple, know that the heavier it is, the better. Also, look for dark green leaves on top, which is a sign of ripeness.
Apricots are tart, juicy fruits that are rich in vitamin A, C, potassium and fiber. They are also high in antioxidants, providing carotenoids like beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.
Eating apricots helps regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease because of their nutrition content.
Apricots can be used to make jams, baked goods, salsas, salads and meat dishes. They can be eaten raw, cooked and dried. Try this Cashew Chicken with Apricot Sauce.
Kiwis are small, oval-shaped spring fruits that are rich in nutrients, including vitamin C, with well over 100 percent of your daily recommended value, fiber and potassium. They also contain antioxidants that help protect against disease and promote healthy aging.
Kiwi can be eaten raw, used in baked goods, juiced and added to smoothies. The skin is edible, but many people choose to remove it. Try this Tropical Acai Bowl Recipe with kiwi, mango and hemp seeds or this Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie.
Honeydew is a sweet and juicy fruit that is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and fiber. It is low in calories and high in water content, making it a great choice for weight loss and hydration.
Honeydew also contains antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and protect against cellular damage.
The most common way to consume honeydew is by eating it fresh, either alone as a snack or with yogurt parfait, cottage cheese, smoothies or salads. You can also use honeydew to make sorbet, like this Honeydew Sorbet recipe.
Lemons are a citrus fruit that are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. They have been shown to aid in digestion, boost immune function, promote heart health and improve skin health.
Lemons are a versatile fruit, used in drinks, desserts, baked goods, meals, and even for home care as a natural freshener and disinfectant. To use lemons at home, try this Secret Detox Drink recipe that has detoxicating effects or this Lemon Garlic Green Beans recipe.
Grapefruit is a citrus fruit that is high in vitamins C and A, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. It’s also low in calories and has a low glycemic index, making it a good choice for weight loss and blood sugar control.
Grapefruit has been shown to help reduce inflammation, lower the risk of kidney stones and prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Mangoes are tropical fruits with a sweet and distinctive flavor. They are rich in nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. Mangoes also contain fiber, which helps regulate digestion and lower blood sugar levels.
In addition, some studies suggest that mangoes may have anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting properties, making them a nutritious and delicious spring fruit to add into your diet.
Cherries are small, bright red spring fruits that are packed with nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C and potassium. They also contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give them their deep color, and have been linked to reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The benefits of cherries also include its ability to help improve sleep quality, reduce muscle soreness after exercise, and aid in weight loss due to their low calorie and high fiber content.
Harvest season for cherries begins in mid-April and lasts into the summer months. The fresh fruit is eaten alone as a snack or added to foods like yogurt and desserts. Cherries can also be used in smoothies and salads, like this Quinoa Salad with Dark Cherries and Kale.
Oranges are a type of citrus fruit that are high in vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients like folate and thiamine. They are low in calories, and eating them may help boost the immune system, improve heart health and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, the flavonoids found in oranges have anti-inflammatory effects and help protect against oxidative stress.
How to Add to Diet
Here are some ways you can add spring fruits to your diet:
- Snack on fresh fruits: Snacking on fresh fruits is a great way to add spring fruits to your diet. Fruits like strawberries, mangoes and cherries are in season during spring and can be used to make fruit salad or fruit kebabs with skewers, which can be a healthy and easy dish when entertaining or feeding a family.
- Make fruit smoothies or fresh juices: Blend fresh fruits with yogurt or nut milk to make delicious fruit smoothies. You can also add leafy greens like spinach or kale to your smoothie for an extra nutrient boost. Juicing fresh spring fruits is another great option.
- Use fruits in your breakfast: Add sliced strawberries, kiwis or pineapple to your morning oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or cottage cheese. You can also use fresh fruits to make pancakes or waffles.
- Add fruits to your salads: Toss some fruits like oranges, strawberries, grapefruit or kiwis into your salad for a burst of flavor and nutrition.
- Bake with fruits: Bake cakes or muffins with fruits like strawberries, lemons and cherries. You can also use berries or citrus fruits to make fruit crumbles.
- Make jams, salsa or dip: Spring fruits can be used to make jams, salsas, dips and marinades. Try apricots, pineapples, lemons and mangoes.
Risks and Side Effects
Although fruits are nutritious and associated with a long list of benefits, remember that they also contain a high amount of sugar and not much protein or healthy fats, so sticking to moderate intake as part of a healthy, balanced diet is essential.
Compared to whole fruits, fruit juices are much higher in calories and can therefore contribute to weight gain, so opt for whole, fresh fruits whenever possible.
Citrus fruits also contain a much higher amount of citric acid than non-citrus fruit, which can erode tooth enamel over time and increase the risk of developing cavities. Consume citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruits in moderation.
Certain types of fruit may also interact with medications, so be sure to talk to your health care professional before consuming new fruits to prevent interactions.
If you’re trying any of these spring fruits for the first time, keep in mind that it’s possible to experience food allergy symptoms. Kiwi allergies, for example, are somewhat common and responsible for 10 percent of all food allergy reactions in children.
- With the onset of the spring season, spring fruits are at their sweetest and most nutritious.
- Adding fruits such as strawberries, mangoes, apricots, pineapple and oranges to your diet will boost your nutrient intake and benefit your immune, cognitive and cardiovascular systems.
- It’s easy to add spring fruits to your diet — try putting them in breakfast cereals or oatmeal, smoothies, dips, baked goods and salads.