For this month, we have the Letter L – there are so many amazing Fruits and Vegetables to eat and of course listing them all would take for ever and a day!
SO, I have tried to pick those that are probably the most popular and some not so.
We are lucky as fruit and veg is still quite seasonal here, and eating them in season is when you will gain the most benefits. So if you see something you have been waiting for – go for it, enjoy it!
I have added a few “how to enjoy” ideas this month after each one – I hope they are useful to you!
Health Benefits of the Lemon
There are many ways to enjoy lemons, but they taste very sour and are usually not eaten alone or as a whole fruit.Instead, they’re often a garnish with meals, and their juice is often used to provide a sour flavor. They are a key ingredient in lemonade.
A great source of vitamin C and fibre, lemons contain many plant compounds, minerals, and essential oils.These yellow fruits also have many potential health benefits. Eating lemons may lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and kidney stones.
Nutrition factsLemons contain very little fat and protein.
They consist mainly of carbs (10%) and water (88–89%).
A medium lemon provides only about 20 calories.
The nutrients in 1/2 cup (100 grams) of raw, peeled lemon are:
Protein: 1.1 grams
Carbs: 9.3 grams
Sugar: 2.5 grams
Fibre: 2.8 grams
Fat: 0.3 grams
carbohydrates in lemons are primarily composed of fibres and simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose .
The main fibre in lemons is pectin. Soluble fibres like pectin can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of sugar and starch. Dietary fibres are an important part of a healthy diet and linked to numerous health benefits.
Vitamins and minerals:
Lemons provide several vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C – An essential vitamin and antioxidant, vitamin C is important for immune function and skin health.
Potassium – A diet high in potassium can lower blood pressure levels and have positive effects on heart health.
Vitamin B6 – A group of related vitamins, B6 is involved in converting food into energy.
These are the main plant compounds in lemons:
Citric acid. The most abundant organic acid in lemons, citric acid may help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
D-limonene. Found primarily in the peel, d-limonene is the main component of lemon essential oils and responsible lemons’ distinct aroma. In isolation, it can relieve heartburn and stomach reflux.
Many of the plant compounds in lemons are not found in high amounts in lemon juice, so it is recommended to eat the whole fruit — excluding the peel — for maximum benefit.
Drinking lemon water may decrease stress, enhance immune function, help prevent anemia, reduce your risk of kidney stones, and protect against several diseases.
Lemons are usually well tolerated but may cause allergies or skin irritation in some people. Large amounts may be harmful to dental health.
It is also delish in cake…especially a yoghurt cake – never let those Lemons go to waste again
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 12 (approx – makes 1 loaf)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 210g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar 200g
- 1 lemon zest (ie from 1 lemon)
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt 180ml
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil 60ml, or other plain oil eg safflower, canola
- 1/4 cup lemon olive oil 60ml, or additional veg oil
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Lightly oil and line a standard loaf pan (8 1/2″ x 4 1/4″).
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk together.
- In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest in to the sugar in to help it release the oils. You should get patches that become slightly moist.
- Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla to the lemony sugar and whisk until blended.
- Gradually add the flour mixture as well and mix in.
- Pour in the oil(s) and blend until combined.
- Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan and smooth off the top.
- Bake for approx 50-55 minutes until the loaf is golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool around 5 minutes before loosening from the pan and carefully taking the loaf out. Continue to cool in a cooling rack.
Health Benefits of Leeks
Leek is a member of the Allium, or onion family. It looks like a larger, paler scallion. The edible part of the plant is a sheath of leaves and the small bulb.
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that eating leeks could soothe the throat and improve the voice.
Like other vegetables in the onion family, leeks are high in flavonoids, especially kaempferol. Flavonoids support cardiovascular health by protecting our blood vessels from damage.
Leeks are also high in folate and in polyphenols, which offer additional support to our cardiovascular system and may also help protect against oxidative stress and cancers.
One cup of raw leeks contains:
13g of carbohydrates
1g of protein
2g of dietary fibre
Leeks are high in vitamin A (one cup offers 30% of your daily requirement), and they’re a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6, as well as the minerals iron and manganese.
With their high concentration of flavonoids and polyphenols, leeks, like other better-researched members of the onion family, offer substantial protection against oxidative stress and cancers as well as cardiovascular disease.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 bowls of soup
3 large leeks greens removed, rinsed and sliced into 1/2″ rounds.
2 Cloves Garlic – smashed
1 cup of lentils
3 sprigs of fresh Thyme
2 Litres chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water in a heavy bottomed, medium sized pot, add the oil, leeks and garlic, along with the salt and thyme, and cook over medium heat until leeks soften, about 5 minutes.
Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer and add them to the pot. Add the water or stock, and bring up to a slow simmer.
Remove any scum from the surface using a small ladle or a spoon.
Cook partially covered, until lentils are soft, about 25 minutes.
Working in batches, blend the soup using an immersion or stand blender, until smooth and nicely pureed.
Garnish each bowl with fresh cracked pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of nice olive oil.
Store leftovers in fridge! or freeze for a quick meal!
So that leaves us with another selection and if you do end up making any of the above recipes – please let us know if you enjoyed them or not!
I always try and keep recipes that I am sharing about nutritional benefits and sometimes just because it’s nice to try something different!
A rainbow of colours on your plate will ensure you are getting the right nutrients in your diet, if you can’t eat something due to health issues, there are always alternatives, and whether you feel you can’t eat it because it’s not a nice taste, or you have visions of it slopped up on your plate at school meals, then choose other ways of cooking or serving!