Here at Mindful Chef we are big believers in the benefits and healing powers of natural produce. As Hippocrates once said 'let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food' and we definitely agree! We love to fill our recipes with vitamins, minerals and nutrients from vegetables to keep you feeling your happiest and healthiest. There are a lot of ingredients we've been using a lot of recently so we thought you might want to know just why we're using them and how they can benefit you and your body.

Asparagus

Asparagus is an amazing vegetable. It contains inulin, a prebiotic that helps to encourage healthy gut flora. It also helps to boost energy as it is high in aspartic acid which neutralises excess ammonia in the body, something which can often leave people feeling drained.

Asparagus is also an amazing anti inflammatory, and is a great source of B vitamins which helps to protect the heart and combat stress. It has detoxifying properties resulting in an amazing purifying effect on the skin. Asparagus has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years as it is thought to help people with respiratory illnesses and help to manage female hormones.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are an amazing ingredient. They have a large fibre content which is so important for maintaining a healthy gut. They are a great source of iron which helps to boost energy, they are rich in vitamin C which helps boost immunity and they are also high in Glycodelin-A - a very important protein for men's health.

Broccoli

Broccoli is known for its antibacterial and immune-boosting properties, and is rich in vitamin C and fibre. Broccoli is amazing for your skin as it contains pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, and sulphur compounds, all of which help to encourage great skin.

Due to its high vitamin C content (more than many citrus fruits!) broccoli is an ideal food to eat to help maintain a healthy immune system.

Broccoli is also full of lutein, an antioxidant that promotes eye health and benefits the heart and circulation.

All in all broccoli really is the original superfood, hence why we love to include it in our recipes!

Carrots

Carrots have so many incredible benefits - including aiding digestion, helping to control weight, benefiting skin and nails and promoting eye health.

Carrots are high in fibre which helps to control weight. They also contain a form of calcium that helps to lower unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Peppers

Peppers are an amazing food, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Their high vitamin C content helps to boost collagen levels - essential for helping to maintain healthy skin, blood vessels and bones.

The high antioxidant levels of peppers have been shown to prevent the oxidisation of cholesterol, they help to prevent blood clot formation and can reduce the risk of stroke.

Most impressive of all is that beta-cryptoxanthin, found mainly in red peppers, may help to prevent lung cancer in those at risk.

Red peppers have been shown to have higher nutrient levels than green so we try and include them in as many of our recipes as possible!

Green Beans

Beans are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as having useful amounts of calcium and protein.

Green beans contain twice the amount of iron of spinach - a key element in making energy and the body's metabolism.

Beans also have strong diuretic properties and they help to speed up the elimination of toxins from the body.

If you want to improve your skin, hair and nails green beans are the perfect thing to add to your diet as they provide an easily absorbed type of silicon, important for healthy connective tissue and strengthening nails.

Courgettes

Courgettes contain a high volume of water, are low in calories and are a perfect light, cleansing food. The combination of fibre, vitamin C and beta-carotene found in courgettes helps to regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.

Courgettes also contain magnesium - an amazing mineral which has not only been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease but helps to calm anxiety, aid digestion and sleep.

Courgettes also contain manganese which can help the body to metabolise protein and carbohydrates and digest fat - perfect to keep your digestive system functioning and make sure you are absorbing all those important nutrients!

Here are some of our favourite recipes which help make the most of these incredible ingredients: