Edible Gardening

Grow Your Own Vitamins

You already know that eating fresh, local and organically grown food is good for you. It doesn’t get any fresher than when it comes out of your own yard, right?

Author Margaret Atwood said “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

We couldn’t agree more. There’s something about that moist whiff that hangs in the air as a warm springtime sun wraps you in light and joy. You can’t wait to start this year’s garden adventure by growing something to eat.

After looking through countless seed catalogs and browsing garden centers, you may have your own crop rotation plans, but we’d like to suggest some exceptionally healthy fruits, veggies and herbs for your garden this season.

Each has a healthy share of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  All are relatively easy to grow with these great health benefits.

Asparagus –  A super food with good garden credentials: Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant; vitamin K for blood clotting; B for energy; and high in vitamins A, C and E. Loaded with minerals to help with body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, cell respiration and red blood cell formation.

Blueberries – One of the highest antioxidant fruits. The phytochemical compounds help rid the body of harmful free radicals, thereby protecting it from icky cancer.

Dill and Fennel – Dill has vitamins and anti-inflammatory agents and helps activate glutathione. Fennel has gobs of vitamin C, good antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and is high in fiber and low in calories. It’s an ideal “cleansing” food.

Echinacea – Fights bacteria, viruses and “atypical cells” – even cancer cells. Boil one to two grams of echinacea root into a tea. Consume it after meals for several weeks to stimulate your immune system.

Eggplant – Vitamin C and potassium. Helps lower cholesterol and regulate high blood pressure. Its B-complex vitamins such as B1, B3, B5 and B6 are essential for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.

Figs – Phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Bonus for men: soak two to three dried figs in milk overnight and eat them in the morning to enhance your sexual dynamism, whatever that is.

Ginger and Turmeric – Contain anti-inflammatory agents. Turmeric aids in arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and skin conditions. Use ginger for motion sickness, morning sickness, poor libido and low sperm motility, but not necessarily in that order.

Onion and Garlic – Contain flavonoids that stimulate glutathione production. Both have powerful anti-bacterial and immune-boosting properties. High doses will also help rid you of pesky party invitations.

Pomegranate – Sorry blueberries, pomegranates have the most powerful antioxidant, anti-cancer and immune supporting properties of all fruits. Pomegranates help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and help with depression and osteoporosis.

Squash – A great low-calorie vegetable with 45 calories per 100g. Recommended by dieticians to control cholesterol and lose weight. It’s best to grow your own because when they’re shipped, squash gets diseases and is sprayed with chemicals.

That should get you started. Remember to feed your soil, plant in succession, mulch, and don’t use chemicals. We’re trying to get healthier, right?

Sandie Zazzara and David Lee own and manage PuraVida Garden Designs, an ecologically-minded design, install and maintenance landscape firm. They can be reached at PuraVidaGardenDesigns@gmail.com.

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