It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, which means we’re celebrating all things green! Yes, this might mean enjoying a green beer after work, but until the Zoom happy hour hits, we’ve found eight delicious vegan foods to get us to the festive day. As a countdown to the celebrations, opt for these nutrient-rich fruit, herbs, and vegetables that will make your body happy and ready to party.
Whether it’s on a bagel, thrown in a salad, or spread onto a veggie sandwich, it’s hard to get enough of avocado in your life. In addition to being downright delicious, this buttery fruit is filled with nutrient-rich properties. While many fruits are made of mainly carbohydrates, avocados are the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy fatty acids. Avocados also contain approximately 20 different vitamins and minerals, including pantothenic acid, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins K, B6, E, and C.
2. Brussels sprouts
Similar to avocados, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins C and K. They’re also rich with essential B vitamins such as B6 and B1, as well as protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. And if that isn’t appealing enough, Brussels sprouts look like miniature versions of cabbage (because they are both part of the brassica family), making them perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day feast!
Broccoli and Brussels both stem from the cruciferous vegetable family and share a lot of the same immune boosting properties. Broccoli is also high in fiber, which helps with digestion, lowering blood sugar, and curbing overeating. But that isn’t all, as this green little dream is mainly known for its cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli is particularly beneficial for breast cancer and uterine cancer because it removes extra estrogen from the body. And it’s delicious!
Not only are limes a major staple to zest up any meal but this fruit has also been a reliable source for medicinal uses for centuries. The health benefits of lime include (but are not limited to) weight loss, skin care, digestion improvement, and treating a number of diseases such as scurvy, respiratory disorders, and gout. Limes also rejuvenate the skin and help protect it from infections. Similar to many citrus fruits of its kind, limes are considered a diabetes superfood because the high levels of soluble fiber help regulate the body’s absorption of sugar.
Mint can be used in tea, as a palate cleanser, blended into smoothies, or as a light garnish. But this small herb packs a serious punch when it comes to the benefits it holds in its leaves. The first and most well-known fact about mint is that its leaves promote digestion and soothe stomachaches, headaches, and migraines. Mint is also a natural stimulant, which helps create a feeling of clarity and alertness on days your head feels like it’s in a fog.
6. Green tea
Green tea is known for being extremely beneficial to the human body. Similar to many teas, green tea is made of Camellia sinensis leaves, but unlike oolong, white or black teas, green tea is processed in a way that creates a different level of oxidation. Green tea has been known to boost metabolism and help the body detoxify naturally. It has also been said that green tea can delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, protect brain cells from dying, and restore damaged brain cells. Fun fact: matcha green tea has the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of normal green tea.
Throw chives atop potatoes or sauté some in your stir-fry—either way this cousin of an onion is sure to give you your daily dose of vitamin K, which is your source of healthy bones. Vitamin K assists the regulation of cells that help to prevent bone demineralization. The sulfides and other unique organic compounds found in chives also deliver garlic-esque benefits and can effectively ease digestive discomfort.
Kiwis are a nutrient-dense fruit full of vitamin C and antioxidants, which studies have shown can help treat people with asthma. Kiwis also have high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which protect our eyes from harmful high-energy light waves such as ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Therefore, eating a few of these furry fruits (peeled, of course) can significantly reduce your risk of vision loss!
Emma DeBono is a freelance journalist, vegan, and avid traveler currently based in New York City.