Eating seasonally can help prevent food boredom and keep micronutrients like vitamins and minerals balanced. This balance keeps your metabolism firing at peak performance. As we launch into spring, what are some new physique-supporting must-haves for your next nutrition rotation? Take a minute to check out these top five picks!
Do you experience frequent muscle cramps with warm weather workouts? Dehydration or lack of potassium can contribute to the cramps that may sideline your workouts. If bananas and potatoes are getting boring, add apricots for variety!
While some people avoid apricots due to higher sugar content, they actually have the same amount of sugar as a banana. That sugar can give you an added workout energy burst to keep you going. Dried apricots also have a much longer shelf life. Toss them in your workout bag and go! Apricots are not just limited to potassium, they are high in fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin A, too.
While grilled asparagus is a staple in bodybuilding diets, many physique-minded individuals don’t know the “why” behind this nutrition choice. Asparagus is a great “clean 15” spring veggie, meaning even the non-organic version typically doesn’t have much pesticide or chemical exposure. Its bodybuilding popularity grows from its diuretic features, meaning it decreases your body’s water retention and weight.
Like apricots, asparagus provides potassium and vitamin A. Asparagus is also high in vitamin C and folate. Folate plays a vital role in amino acid metabolism and keeping blood sugar stable. Bodybuilding diets that exclude nuts, beans, beef liver, and oranges tend to also lack sources of folate. Luckily, asparagus offers a solution. Unlike apricots, asparagus is very low in sugar and doesn’t travel well, so it is best kept for meals (as opposed to pre- or post-workout).
Beets have taken the health and fitness world by storm. Their popularity rivals cauliflower, coconut, and avocados, but for completely different reasons. Beets are often referred to as a “superfood” due to their low-calorie, nutrient-packed value.
While beets are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and magnesium. They are also high in antioxidants and nitrates, which has piqued the fitness world’s interest, as both of these compounds help naturally mitigate inflammation. Less inflammation may mean faster workout recovery, especially if you are hitting the gym every day!
Cherries, cherry juice, and cherry-containing supplements continue to gain popularity in fitness realms. Cherries are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as magnesium, calcium, choline, and antioxidants. Part of their popularity is not only due to their antioxidant value in inflammation management, but also pop media headlines stating that cherries reduce belly fat. In reality, they are high in fiber, and fiber improves bowel regularity, contributing to weight loss. Note, cherries are part of the “dirty dozen” for pesticide exposure, so many nutrition experts recommend seeking out the organic variety.
Grapefruit might be the king/queen of all! It is known for more health benefits than all of the spring fruits and veggies combined! Like asparagus, grapefruit often holds a regular space in fitness competition diets. Grapefruit carries a lot of power for the fitness and physique-minded as it is surprisingly low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, contributing to satiety and bowel regularity.
Like asparagus, it is a natural diuretic, which helps decrease water retention. Like cherries and apricots, asparagus is exceptionally high in vitamin C and A, which are both essential for a healthy immune system. Like apricots, asparagus is high in potassium, making it ideal for helping decrease muscle cramping in warm-weather workouts. And, like cherries and beets, grapefruit is known for its powerful antioxidant profile contributing to overall health and workout recovery. Given all of this, we can see why grapefruit is often one of the few fruits chosen for physique-minded nutrition plans.
Now that we’ve explored top spring physique-supporting seasonal choices, which ones are you ready to try?
About the Author: Dr. Meredith Butulis, creator of the ISSA Fitness Comeback Coach Certification (online), is a Sports Medicine Physical Therapist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach in practice since 2002. She consistently walks the talk as a fitness, physique, and OCR world-level competitor and lifestyle transformer since 2006, celebrating many wins along the way. Want more total fitness lifestyle inspiration and interaction? Follow Dr. Meredith on Instagram @Dr.MeredithButulis or join the free “Fitness Focus Fuel” Facebook Group.