Spring Superfoods That Won’t Break the Bank

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Leeks
> Price: $4.99/bunch

A cup of cooked fresh leeks provides almost a third of the RDA for Vitamin K (for blood and bone health). They also contain folate and flavonoids (especially kaempferol, which studies show might help regulate cancer cells), as well as other compounds good for cardiovascular health.

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Radishes
> Price: $0.47/bunch

These spicy little red- or pink-and-white root vegetables — popular in salads, and a good snack for the health-conscious — are one of the first spring crops to come up. They’re a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, folate, and potassium, as well as riboflavin (or Vitamin B2, important for energy production, cell growth, and the metabolism of fats and drugs) and other vitamins and minerals.

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Rhubarb
> Price: $2.99/lb.

These sour stalks, which look like overgrown red celery, are a vegetable usually treated as a fruit — typically sweetened and baked into pies (often in combination with strawberries) or other desserts. Its nutritional value is primarily as fiber, though a 3.5-ounce serving offers roughly a third of the RDA for Vitamin K. It also contains proanthocyanidins, the same antioxidants that may provide some of the supposed health benefits of red wine and cocoa.

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Snow peas
> Price: $4.96/lb.

Snow peas, like their close cousin sugar snap peas, are substantially lower in starch (and thus carbs) than regular English or garden peas. They’re very high in Vitamin C — a 3.5-ounce serving provides 100% of the RDA — and have plenty of Vitamins A and Ks well. They contain other antioxidants and are rich in fiber (because you eat the hulls as well as the peas themselves), which promotes dietary health and may be beneficial for blood sugar control and weight loss.

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Spinach
> Price: $1.06/bunch

The first nutrient in spinach that anyone familiar with the cartoon character Popeye will name is iron — but in fact its reputation as a high-iron food may stem from a decimal error made by a German scientist back in 1870, and in any case the iron spinach does contain is not well-absorbed. The good news is that it contains plenty of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin A. Among its possible (though not proven) health benefits are diabetes control, asthma prevention, bone health, and digestive regularity.