Onions

The onion is one of the most commonly used vegetables around the world and also great for your health. They are very nutrient dense, packed full of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, B vitamins, and potassium. Onions help fight inflammation as they contain antioxidants and are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. In the kitchen onions are a great ingredient as they add tons of flavor to dishes and can be used raw or cooked. Although onions are found in many households it can really help to know what onions are best for what purpose. For example red onions which are a little sweeter and have less strong of a flavor compared to white onions are great raw in a salad. To learn what onions are best for what types of dishes check out this infographic below.

Leeks

You might be surprised to know that leeks are actually a member of the lily family! Leeks are a typical winter vegetable that have a light green color and are a milder and sweeter version of an onion. They contain vitamins B1 and C, and are abundant in iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Leeks are good for digestion, help stimulate the liver and gall bladder, and have been shown to lower blood sugar. Along with being very healthy, leeks are also an extremely versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes. You can slice it thinly and eat it raw or cook it and use it in a frittata, creamy soup, or pasta dish.

Tryptophan

L-tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids and is used by the body to produce serotonin. This hormone is vital in helping control your mood and sleep! Tryptophan is an amino acid that can’t by produced by the body so it has to come into our bodies through our diets. A deficiency in tryptophan can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression. Incorporating foods rich in tryptophan can help prevent such a deficiency. The foods below are all rich in tryptophan and worth incorporating into your diet! So check your Metabolic Balance meal plan right now and incorporate the foods that are good for you into your meals. 

★ Salmon
★ Oats
★ Almonds
★ Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
★ Avocados

Mangoes

Mangoes are a delicious fruit that have many nutritional benefits. They contain a lot of vitamin A and C, potassium, iron, and some copper. Their vibrant yellow/orange color also tells us that mangoes are rich in carotene.

When buying and eating mangoes, make sure that you only eat ripe mangoes, because unripe mangoes aren’t nearly as delicious but can also have a slightly laxative effect. Ripe mangoes, on the other hand, soothe the intestines and are easily digestible. The mango pulp stimulates the entire metabolism and strengthens connective tissue. This fruit is an absolute superfood and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes!

Chickpea-Carrot Bowl with Coriander

Our Metabolic Balance Chef Jan P. Cleusters has created this delicious recipe using carrots and chickpeas, give it a try!

Ingredients:
500 g carrots
2 shallots
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 cup (100 mL) vegetable broth
1 cup (200 mL) coconut milk
1 small can of chickpeas
6 sprigs of coriander
Salt and pepper

Preparation:
Peel the carrots and cut into cubes. Peel the shallots and dice finely. Heat coconut oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook the carrots and shallots over medium heat for a few minutes until they start turning golden brown. Add the curry powder and tomato paste. Add the vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil slowly. Cook the covered carrots on low for about 4 minutes. Then add the chickpeas to the carrots and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the curry in bowls and sprinkle with coriander. Enjoy!

Crunchy Carrots

Carrots are a staple in many kitchens and today we have a few tips that all involve carrots!

Although baby carrots are a convenient option, try picking up large, regular carrots the next time you are at the store. Not only do these taste even more delicious than baby carrots but they also keep much better in the fridge. After shopping, carrots should be taken out of their packaging immediately and preferably stored in the vegetable drawer in the fridge. We also advise always removing the green leaves before storing, but don’t throw them away! Carrot leaves are far too good not to use – we suggest adding them to a green smoothie like this one. Simply blend the green stems from three carrots with 1.5 cups of water, 150g baby spinach, a peeled orange, a few chunks of mango and banana, and a tablespoon of cold pressed flax oil! This smoothie is not only delicious but also provides a great boost of energy.

By the way, did you also know that the alpha and beta carotenes in carrots are a precursor of vitamin A? This is what makes carrots so good for your skin. In addition, they contain B vitamins and vitamin E plus an excellent level of the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron as well as the fiber pectin.  

A final couple of tips: Always add a little oil to your carrot dishes, otherwise the fat-soluble vitamins they contain will not be able to be fully absorbed by your body.

 

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy cabbage or also known as curly cabbage is one of the prettiest and unique varieties of cabbage. It has green, slightly curly leaves and is less tightly packed than some of its relatives in the cabbage family. For a long time it wasn’t a very popular ingredient but has recently risen in prominence. As a vegetable it is extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes from soups and salads to wraps and lasagna. Savoy cabbage is also very healthy, packed full of vitamins C, B6, E, folic acid, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron. During your next trip to the grocery store pick up a savoy cabbage and try it out in some new dishes!

German Field Salad

Rapunzel, corn salad or lamb’s lettuce – no other variety has as many names as the popular field salad. And the name speaks for itself: It comes straight from the fields. This is a great leafy vegetable to include in your diet because it contains valuable nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid as well as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. But you shouldn’t enjoy this salad too often. It contains quite a lot of oxalic acid. This acid is considered a “calcium scavenger” because it binds the mineral and prevents it from being stored in bones and teeth.

Avocado

Avocados have increased in popularity in the US since the early 2000’s and are now a staple in many households. What many people may not know is that they are one of the most nutrient dense and healthy fruits! Not a vegetable, avocado is the only fruit that contains high levels of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. In addition, avocados contain high amounts of fiber, are a great source of vitamins C, K, B6, and are rich in magnesium, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Although most of the calories are derived from fats, these are all healthy fats that the cells in your body need for essential metabolic processes.

Avocados are extremely versatile and can be used in many different dishes. Try them mashed on toast, blended into a pasta sauce, on top of a salad, or even in a creamy chocolate pudding. The possibilities are endless!

Picture: Lemonly

Red and Purple

Red and purple foods! You’ve probably heard of how important it is to “eat the rainbow”. Well red and purple foods are an essential part of that rainbow. This is because they are a great source of polyphenols. These essential phytochemicals are excellent antioxidants which we need for healthy ageing and protecting our cells from damage and inflammation. Natural and real foods have an incredible ability to keep us healthy. So enjoy something red or purple today and of course we say choose it from your Metabolic Balance food list. It’ll then be even more incredible for you! What are some of your favorite red and purple foods?

Credit: Metabolic Balance Australia and New Zealand