Spring: Season of joy

Spring. The very word conjures up images of rebirth, rapidly lengthening days, emerging blossoms and greenery and the smell of freshness. Spring is the season of joy. If we want to reap an autumn harvest, now is the time to plant. Spring is on our side. We know that the improving weather boosts our mood. A recent study that involved more than 600 participants found that folks who were randomly assigned to be outdoors during warm and sunny days showed improved mood and memory compared with people who were outside when the weather was not pleasant and compared with participants who spent the time inside. For weather to improve mood, subjects needed to spend at least 30 minutes outside in warm, sunny weather. Here’s the key: you must spend time outdoors. You won’t enjoy the benefits of the improving weather if you sit at your desk and look out the window. In fact, in the study mentioned, researchers found that, contrary to their initial expectations, spending time indoors when the weather outside was pleasant actually decreased mood and narrowed cognitive style. As most of us spend over 90 percent of our time indoors, we’ve lost out on the natural healthy advantages that wait just outside our front doors. It shouldn’t be surprising that weather and seasons affect human behavior, given that humans have evolved with seasonal and weather changes since the dawn of man. Take advantage of nature. Use the boost in mood and memory to help you establish new, healthy habits this spring. Begin a walking program. Fill your fridge with the fresh fruits and vegetables of spring. Get active. Let this spring be the season of your renewal. It’s easy to make quick, delicious meals using springtime fruits. Researchers say these foods contain important vitamins, fiber and other compounds that are likely to protect us from cancer and other diseases. Remember that you should be trying to get ‘five a day’ of a wide variety of fruits. It’s easier to achieve this goal in the spring, when the cascade of ripening fruits beckons from our orchards and markets. Some of the fruits that are now in season for March, April and May (and we will talk about in the next few weeks) include kiwi, mangos, papayas, rhubarb, raspberries, pineapple, blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries, blueberries, currants and strawberries. Next week: kiwi Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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