Are you keeping it green? A diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables is the cornerstone of good health. In order to maximize your nutrition, you should follow a few practices.

Buy local. From the time produce is harvested, it starts leeching out its nutrients. When you reduce the time it takes for your food to get to your table, you’ll not only enjoy fresher veggies, you’ll also boost your vitamin intake. When they’re available, purchase vegetables such as carrots, beets, and tomatoes that still have their green tops. Those leafy greens and vines help preserve nutrients.

Go seasonal. In most large cities today, it’s easy to find a variety of produce year-round, but there are financial and health benefits to purchasing items in season. When you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, they’re often locally grown so you can enjoy them at their peak of flavor and nutrition. And, because they haven’t been shipped long distance, they’re often the best deal in the department.

Growing seasons vary based on where you live, but these are some of the best buys right now:

Asparagus
Beets
Celery
Spring onions
Greens (arugula, lettuce, kale, spinach, Swiss chard)
Peas​
Peppers
Turnips
Rhubarb
Strawberries

Inspect carefully. Look for produce that’s free from bruises and punctures. Leafy greens should be vibrant and firm. Fruits should give slightly to the touch and you should be able to smell their sweet essence when they’re ripe.

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