After months of winter, spring is a time to indulge in delicate, light produce just beginning to pop out of the ground.
During the spring, certain vegetables hit their peak in freshness, flavor, and nutritional value. Farmers’ markets are bursting with a new assortment and shapes. Building your menu around seasonal produce is a great way to keep your meals interesting, nourish your body, and support local agriculture.
When it comes to skincare, homemade scrubs and facial masks are all the rage. You can prepare your own beauty products at home using simple clean ingredients. So next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, take this seasonal opportunity to inject some freshness into your diet and beauty routine.
Don’t know where to start? We created a list of five amazing vibrant spring veggies for you to try.
This spring veggie is only in season for a short time (late March - early May), so you definitely want to get your hands on it. Asparagus is hydrating and loaded with nutrients like vitamin K, E, A, C, vitamin B complex, folate, potassium, manganese, calcium, and phosphorus - true skincare champion. Each of these nutrients contributes to glowing, healthy skin.
Vitamin K helps to improve skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of dark undereye circles, and soothe inflammation. Potassium promotes skin cell growth and helps to clear away acne scars and blemishes. Vitamins A, C, and folates protect cells from free radicals and boost collagen production. Asparagus is particularly high in flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer effects. So yes, eating asparagus will absolutely benefit your skin and overall health! Not sure how to cook it? Folks at Serious Eats got you covered with 22 asparagus recipes.
As a facial treatment, asparagus is equally as beneficial. It can help you to soothe psoriasis, eczema, and inflammation, treat acne and heal sores.
Asparagus and mint clay mask
- 8 mint leaves
- 2 spears of asparagus
- 2 tablespoons of green clay
Preparation: Cook the asparagus in ½ cup of water for about 4 minutes. Let cool and blend with mint leaves until smooth. Add clay powder and stir.
Application: Apply evenly over your face, avoiding areas around the eyes. Let dry for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Make sure to moisturize your skin afterward.
This leafy green is incredibly mineral and antioxidant-rich. It contains vitamins A, B complex, E, K, folate, manganese, pantothenic acid, thiamine, calcium, iron, sodium, and magnesium. One serving of watercress provides 72% of the daily vitamin C requirement and protects your skin from wrinkles and fine lines. Watercress is rich in dietary nitrates, which have been proven to decrease inflammation and stiffness of blood vessels, and can aid with issues like psoriasis, eczema, warts, and acne. Research shows that consuming watercress regularly can improve collagen production. If you never tried this leafy vegetable, Martha Stewart has 23 watercress recipes for you.
Watercress can be beneficial for your hair too. It balances hormones that encourage hair growth. Applying watercress extract to your scalp will reduce breakage and improve scalp health.
Watercress and olive oil hair mask
- 10 fresh watercress leaves
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
- 1 tablespoon of castor oil.
- 2 capsules of vitamin E.
Preparation: Wash the watercress thoroughly. Chup it as finely as you can. Mix olive oil and castor oil until combined. Add chopped watercress to the oil mixture. Place ingredients on low heat for at least 15 minutes to infuse oils with watercress nutrients. Filter the mixture well, then add lemon juice and vitamin E. Mix until combined. This hair mask can be stored in the refrigerator.
Application: Warm up the hair mask to body temperature or slightly warmer. Make sure it’s not too hot, you don’t want to damage your scalp. Apply to your hair and scalp and distribute evenly. Cover the hair and let sit for at least an hour. Wash out the excess oil with gentle natural shampoo. For best results, use the mask twice for two weeks, then once every week.
Artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables. It’s a great source of vitamin A and C, fiber, magnesium, biotin, niacin, and other minerals. Eating artichokes helps to prevent blemishes, reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The study has shown that polyphenols in artichoke produce anti-aging effects, improve skin elasticity and skin cell integrity. Being high in folate and fiber makes them great for digestion. Technically a thistle, artichoke comes with only 60 calories and around 4 grams of protein, which is way above average for plant-based food. Preparing and cooking artichokes is not as intimidating as you might think. Check out this collection of 20 delicious artichoke recipes from Food & Wine.
Artichoke is the perfect ingredient for topical application. It can help to minimize the appearance of pores, improve moisture retention, and brighten up your complexion.
- 1 cooked artichoke heart ( or canned in water)
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp of lemon juice
Preparation: In a ceramic bowl, mash the artichoke heart. Mix in olive oil and lemon juice. Stir well until fully combined and smooth.
Application: Apply a generous even layer on your face. Avoid areas around the eyes. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry.
Spinach is available year-round but it is at its nutritional peak during the spring months. It is rich in skin reviving and regenerating vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids. Spinach is a source of beta-carotene and vitamin E. These micronutrients protect skin from UV damage and keep skin moisture levels up. Our body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which provides anti-aging and restorative benefits. It moderates oil production in the skin pores and hair follicles. Spinach is rich in iron and supports muscle metabolism, healthy connective tissues, and the synthesis of some hormones. If you think that spinach is a bit too bland, you can take it to the next level with these 40 spinach recipes from Delish.
Each half-cup of boiled spinach provides 573 mcg of vitamin A (64% of the DV). Vitamin A contains retinoids. Retinoids increase collagen production, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin color. So when it comes to beauty treatments, spinach is a must-try.
Spinach and Honey Facial Mask
- 4-5 medium-sized spinach leaves
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
Optional: 1 teaspoon almond oil, depending on skin type and allergies.
Preparation: Chop up the spinach as finely as possible. Mix in the honey and lemon juice. If your skin is sensitive, add a teaspoon of water. Add the almond oil, if you want. The mixture should be a little watery, but sticky.
Application: Apply the mask to dry clean skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Wash off with cold water and pat dry.
5. Green Peas
Green peas are maybe humble and ordinary. But in the context of nutrient and health benefits, they are a force to be reckoned with. Peas are a powerful source of restorative nutrients like vitamin K, C, and E, zinc, and other antioxidants. Green peas are one of the few plant-based sources of absorbable niacin, which is also known as vitamin B3. Niacin helps to relieve rosacea symptoms, decrease skin redness, and prevents acne. Green peas are worth adding to your menu. These 17 green peas recipes from Bon Appetit Magazine will help you to do just that.
Application of green peas to your skin can do wonders too. It prevents free radical damage and cleanses the skin of toxins.
Peas, yogurt, and turmeric face mask
- 2 tsp boiled and mashed green peas
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp plain yogurt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp aloe vera juice (optional)
- 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Preparation: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Application: Apply to the clean exfoliated skin. Leave on until it is dry (about 15-20 minutes). Wash off with warm water and pat dry.
Written by Elena Popkova