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“Eat your greens!”
Sound familiar? Turns out that this is not exactly a winning strategy when it come to getting children (and adults alike) to step-up their green game. And yet… The truth is that green vegetables are the foods most commonly missing in modern diets.
So maybe you’re like me. You need to know “why” before doing something. And here it is…
Nutritionally speaking, greens are powerhouses.
Greens are among the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet — high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Not only that, they are also loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals, such a polyphenols. So if you are trying to up-level your daily nutrition, green vegetables are your best allies.
And yet, the average person, even vegetarians and vegans, doesn’t eat nearly enough greens on a daily basis. Incorporating dark, leafy greens into your diet is essential to establishing a healthy body and immune system.
By choosing to nourish yourself with vibrant nutrient packed greens, you naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick, sluggish, and or overweight. Greens help build your internal rainforest and strengthen the respiratory and circulatory systems. They are very low in calories and high in nutrients, which means they will help you feel satiated quicker and better manage your appetite.
When it comes to choosing your produce, although I recommend you go for organic as much as possible, eating non-organic or conventionally grown greens is still preferable to not eating any greens at all! Just avoid the dirty dozen.
What are some of the proven benefits from consuming more dark leafy greens:
Thankfully, there are a wide variety of greens available. Don’t like kale? Try collard greens or rainbow chard. Starting with more mild-tasting greens like spinach can also help you to acclimatize to the flavor in the beginning.
Remember, the goal is to experiment with as many different greens as you can. Be adventurous and explore new greens that you’ve never tried before! This way you’ll find the ones you like the most and then it’ll be easier to make sure you’re eating them as often as possible.
Here are some ideas of greens that pack the punch:
Here are some of my favorites: broccoli, arugula (rocket), brussels sprouts, bok choy, napa cabbage, green cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, and dandelion.
Spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun, and wild greens are generally eaten raw, but can be consumed in any creative way you want.
Try a variety of methods like steaming, boiling, water sautéing, baking, grilling, or lightly pickling. Boiling helps greens plump and relax. (You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea if you’re using organic greens.) Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which helps you feel fuller, longer. This is a great method to help curb your appetite for those trying to lose weight.
Add a raw salad before meals, or enjoy crudités like celery or cucumber as an appetizer with a kale dip to boost your fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake. Eating vegetables raw is a refreshing way to add more “crunch” to a meal.
Add them to your protein shakes and smoothies!
Juicing is also a good option to boost your nutrition. I like to juice as part of a fast, or on a weekly basis. This can be a good strategy to reboot your system.
Armed with this knowledge, here is my invitation for you: “Eat your greens! ….Because they are the most nutritious foods on the planet, and they will help you get healthy, be fresh and strong.”