Spring has finally sprung! With April finally, here it means we see an increase in fruits and vegetables that have our back. April showers bring more than just May flowers. All the water this month commonly brings with it means the fruits and vegetables are full of hydration. Spring fruits and vegetables are chock-full of metabolic boosting foods. Most, if not all of us, are looking to shed our winter coats. What better way to do just that than to fill your plate with powerful fruits and vegetables designed to burn fat and even slow down aging. Just like that, spring has just become one of all of our favorite seasons.
Let’s face it, we all want to look and feel our best. One of the best ways to do just that is by providing our bodies with the building blocks they need. During the month of April, mother nature fills our cupboards with fruits and vegetables that help bring out the best in all of us. Spring fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that support immunity, slow aging, boost metabolic rate, improve oral health, reduce seasonal allergies, and more! The following is a list of the best vegetables in April along with their health benefits.
Artichokes are chock-full of important nutrients, like vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron, as well as potassium and antioxidants. In addition to its wide nutrition profile, artichokes offer more protein than many other vegetables at 3.5 grams per serving. Studies show that those who consume a higher ratio of plant-based protein to animal-derived protein have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
A half-cup of artichokes contains about seven grams of fiber or more than a quarter of the amount recommended for women and nearly a fifth of the amount recommended for men. Americans, on average, only eat about half the amount of fiber that’s recommended per day. Artichokes are full of inulin, which is a unique form of fiber known to help prevent gastrointestinal issues like constipation, enhance the absorption of minerals like calcium, and bolster your immune system. It is also a natural probiotic which helps support digestion. Artichokes are high up on the list of immune-boosting, antioxidant-rich foods. Artichokes are naturally high in polyphenols, which can repair damaged cells that impair your immune function.
Artichokes are an excellent source of folate, which is a B vitamin that researchers have found to be potentially beneficial in reducing inflammation and boosting energy levels. Artichokes have been shown to help fight a number of specific cancers, too: their flavonoid content helps kill pancreatic cancer cells. And since artichokes are among the highest sources of flavonoid apigenin (a type of plant nutrient), they can help fight breast cancer, too.
Asparagus is great for weight loss for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is its high fiber content. It is also a natural diuretic and contains inulin which aids in digestion by increasing good bacterial flora. Asparagus is great for regulating blood sugar levels and contains saponins such as diosgenin which helps improve blood pressure. It helps to detox the body and increase energy levels due to its high concentration of B-complex vitamins. Asparagus also helps increase the production of red blood cells and the vitamin K content helps promote heart and bone health. But wait there’s more. Asparagus is high in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants and contains glutathione which detoxifies and fights carcinogens. It is definitely a vegetable that should make it on your plate this season!
All About Those Avocados
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat and vitamin E and are a good source of folate. They also supply more soluble fiber than other fruit and contain a number of useful minerals including iron, copper, and potassium. They are also an excellent source of potassium, folate, and fiber, all of which benefit the heart and cardiovascular system. The oils supplied by an avocado include oleic acid and linoleic acid, these unsaturated fats are recommended as part of a balanced diet to help manage cholesterol. Avocados are a rich source of protective vitamin E as well as carotenes including lutein and zeaxanthin which are thought to help keep the eyes healthy. There is no doubt that the calorie content of avocados is greater than other fruits and vegetables. A study has shown that the fat and fiber content of avocados leads to feelings of satiety which helps regulate appetite.
One study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that eating rhubarb stalks lowered cholesterol levels in men with high cholesterol. It was especially helpful in reducing LDL or bad cholesterol. The tannins in rhubarb stalks have been found to improve digestion and gut health. Rhubarb is also rich in fiber to help prevent constipation. Rhubarb stalks are rich in vitamin K, a key nutrient in improving bone density and lowering the risk of fractures. A study in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology found that a serving of rhubarb has more antioxidants than a cup of packed kale. That means more protection from harmful free radicals that can lead to chronic disease.
The antioxidants in rhubarb won’t just protect against chronic disease. They’ll make you look younger too! The nutrients support collagen production for firmer, brighter skin. Rhubarb stalks contain anthocyanins, the compound that gives them their deep, red color. A study in the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology found that eating foods rich in anthocyanins was associated with less inflammation and more protection against chronic diseases like diabetes. The compounds in rhubarb stalks improve our gut health and can even protect the liver from harm. A study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that taking rhubarb extract is linked with improved liver health among study participants who reported binge drinking alcohol.
Supportive Spring Onions
Spring onions contain fiber, which helps in the movement of stool. It treats swollen intestines and makes your digestive system highly active. People with digestive problems should consume 20-30 grams of spring onions twice a day, once in the morning and the evening. As it has antibacterial and antiviral properties, it is an excellent medicine to treat viral and flu infections. It also reduces excess mucus and fights against the winter cold, making you feel miserable. Green onions contain potent sulfur-containing compounds called allyl sulfide, which help prevent colon cancer. Moreover, flavonoids prevent cancer by inhibiting xanthine oxidase, an enzyme that damages DNA and cellular tissue by producing free radicals.
Studies have shown that sulfur compounds present in green onions reduce blood sugar levels by increasing insulin levels. Insulin is necessary to transport sugar from the bloodstream to the body’s cells. In addition to carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, green onions contain vitamin A, which plays a vital role in maintaining normal vision and keeping your eyes healthy and strong. Also, they fight against macular degeneration, a condition that results in the loss of vision, and they protect the eyes from inflammation. The presence of antioxidants in spring onions helps prevent damage to DNA and cellular tissue by inhibiting the action of free radicals. Vitamin C helps lower high cholesterol and blood pressure levels in the body, which lowers your risk of heart disease.
Rhubarb Custard Pie
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 8
- 1 unbaked gluten-free, vegan pie shell of choice
- 3 cups Rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 ¼ cup Coconut Sugar
- ¾ cup Thick Vegan Greek Yogurt
- 1 cup Coconut Cream
- 3 Tbsp Coconut Flour
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the rhubarb into the unbaked pie shell. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour custard batter over the rhubarb and bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until the custard is mostly set. The center may be a little loose, but it will set as it cools. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
French Onion Shepards Pie
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 1 Tbsp thyme Minced
- 3 pounds White Onions sliced and Halved
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 ½ Coconut Aminos
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 ½ cup Lentils rinsed
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 ½ Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 5 cups Vegetable Stock
- 2 cups Water
- 1 ½ pounds Potatoes peeled and cubed
- 4 cups Cauliflower chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 4 Tbsp Vegan butter
- ½ cup Coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat oil and saute onions until softened. Add a splash of water if onions start to dry out. You want them to begin to caramelize. Next, add bay leaves, thyme, and garlic, stirring often—Cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste and cook another minute. Add lentils, vinegar, and coconut aminos, often stirring—season with salt and pepper to taste and add the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until tender lentils. Remove bay leaves and allow filling to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to an oven-safe dish.
To prepare the topping, boil the cauliflower and potatoes until fork tender: drain water, mash cauliflower, and potatoes. Then, using a mixer, add the remaining ingredients into the potatoes mixing well to incorporate—season to taste.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Smooth out the onion filling in your oven-safe dish and top with mashed potatoes making sure to spread out evenly on top. Top with olive oil and add salt and pepper—Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Asparagus Salad with Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 2 Tbsp Rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Coconut amino
- 2 Tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Ginger fresh grated
- 2 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 clove Garlic minced
- 1 Jalapeno finely diced
- 4 scallions finely sliced
- 1 ½ pounds Asparagus
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
- ¼ cup Fresh Mint chopped
- ¾ cup Almonds sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well. To prepare the salad, chop the asparagus into 1-2 inch long pieces (you can also peel them with a veggie peeler for a different texture). Add in cilantro, mint, jalapeno, scallions, and dressing. Toss together and refrigerate overnight or at least for 2 hours. Remove and top with nuts seasoning as needed.
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Keeping your body free of toxins and free radicals is necessary to maintain a healthy life and a healthy mind. There are tons of foods you can add to your regular diet to help your body with its critical detoxifying processes. If you are looking for a safe and all-natural way to detox your body at home be sure to check out my Balancing Abundance Program. Because detoxing is so important and realistically everyone should be doing it on at least a seasonal basis I have taken the time to put together a program to help you do just that. Here’s the thing, I know working with me one-on-one can seem difficult to get into (due to limited space) and I wanted to be able to give everyone an additional solution that has no limits. You deserve to be happy, healthy, and successful at everything you do so here are some recipes to help set you up for success!
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