Spring Superfoods That Won’t Break the Bank

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Artichokes
> Price: $2.11 each

This edible thistle is an excellent source of dietary fiber, as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin K (the so-called “blood-clotting vitamin” and an important factor in bone health), folate (a form of Vitamin B9, important for cell growth and to prevent some birth defects), and manganese (considered an essential nutrient, with many uses).

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Asparagus
> Price: $2.16/lb.

Notorious for the strong odor it imparts to the urine of those who eat it (or at least some of those — there are some 871 genetic alterations that blunt the effect for many others), this edible member of the lily family is considered one of the most nutritionally balanced of all vegetables. A five-ounce portion provides 60% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folic acid (a synthetic form of folate), along with plenty of potassium — an important electrolyte that aids the proper functioning of the heat, kidneys, muscles, and nerves — and other minerals and vitamins.

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Blueberries
> Price: $2.78/pint

One of everybody’s favorite “superfoods,” since they’re widely available, easy to eat, and tasty, blueberries have more antioxidants — compounds that can help protect the body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage — than almost any other common fruit or vegetable. They contain elements that may also help lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease and diabetes, and improve memory and brain function.

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Dandelion greens
> Price: $1.99/lb.

Somebody once said “A weed is a plant that nobody has found a use for yet.” Spiky-leaved, with yellow flowers and furry-looking seed heads, dandelions grow wild on roadsides (among other places) all over America — but they’re one weed people have found a use for — eating — for centuries. Cooked as greens, added to soups, or tossed in salads, dandelions provide bitterish flavor and a whole host of apparent health benefits. Containing a veritable cocktail of vitamins and minerals — principally Vitamins A, C, and K, plus iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium — they’re a diuretic (the French call them “pissenlit,” literally pee in bed) and a laxative, and have traditionally been used to treat everything from upset stomach to joint and muscle aches to eczema.

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Green onions (scallions)
> Price: $0.58/bunch

Green onions (or scallions) are rarely eaten as a vegetable on their own — though in Mexico, they’re sometimes grilled as an accompaniment to steak or fajitas — but adding plenty of them to salads, soups, stews, and other dishes will provide a healthy dose of dietary fiber and Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as some thiamin (Vitamin B1 — essential for a healthy metabolism and cell growth and function), folate, magnesium, and other minerals.