Greens in your diet

Why adding greens into your diet is important

Dark green leafy vegetables are a wonderful source of vitamins (B, A, C and K), minerals (iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium), beta carotenoids, folate, chlorophyll, and fibre. Greens have loads of antioxidants in them that remove free radicals to aid the body to fight disease, they also boost the body’s immune system and energy levels and act as an anti-inflammatories.

A research study that tracked and recorded the diets of older adults for an average of five years concluded that those older adults who ate green leafy vegetables on a regular basis, (one or two servings a day), had the cognitive ability of a person much younger than those who did not consume any.

Greens can be microwaved, boiled, steamed, blanched, stewed, quickly sautéed in a stir fry, eaten raw in a salad or roasted.  What is important is to experiment with different methods of preparing and cooking green vegetables, and alongside this use different seasonings to find out which way you prefer to eat them.

Some people prefer their greens raw in salad, but this doesn’t have to be just a piece of lettuce: you can add in young dandelion leaves, rocket, spinach , arugula, frisée, or radicchio to make your salad interesting and delicious. Other people prefer to add leafy greens to their smoothie like kale, spinach, Swiss chard or arugula to energize them first thing in the morning; for others having them as a side dish or hidden in their evening meal (lasagna) is best for them; whichever way you like them will be good.

To maximize your green vegetable nutritional boost have olive oil, avocado, coconut oil or even grass-fed butter with your greens, this will increases the absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids and vitamin K.

Wash your Greens

In a bowl of cold water add in apple cider vinegar and leave to soak for only a minute or two before gently moving the greens around with your hands this removes any bacteria, dirt or sand attached to the leaves. Rinse well and place in colander to drip dry or use a clean tea towel to pat dry.

Storing Greens

The best way is to place greens in a zip top bag with a folded paper towel – this absorbs excess moisture. Place in the bottom of the fridge in the draw, but leave the bag open a little bit to circulate air, this will keep your greens useable for around 5 days.

Different Green Vegetables

Arugula is rich in vitamin A, C, K and B, and a great source of calcium. It is rich in cancer fighting antioxidants and good for immune and brain function.

Beet greens are rich in vitamin A, C and K and contain essential minerals calcium, iron, copper, magnesium and manganese. Beet greens support healthy skin, blood, and bones and promote heart and eye health.

Boy Choy has loads of vitamins A, C and K, folate, and calcium and is good for immunity, bone strength, and heart health.

Broccoli is a very good source of dietary fibre, pantothenic acid, vitamin A, B1& B6 and vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, choline, potassium, copper, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin and selenium.

Celery is an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, it contains vitamin K, C and B6 and potassium and folate and is a good source of dietary fibre.

Collard Greens these are a cruciferous vegetable full of vitamin A, C, and K great source of minerals and antioxidants, they also provide your body with a healthy dose of fibre.

Dandelion Greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, calcium and iron. They are used to cleanse the liver and gall bladder and to help support kidney function. They may help stabilize blood sugar and lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Kale has beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium and fibre and is full of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Romain lettuce provides calcium, vitamin A, iron, B-vitamins, vitamin K, and the minerals copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Spinach lowers blood pressure, fights cancer, improves vision and heart health, boosts immunity and energy, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Rich in potassium, protein, calcium, iron, niacin and vitamins A, B, C and B-12.

Swiss Chard is rich in vitamins A, C, K, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and iron. The phytonutrient content in Swiss chard is quite unique, and is especially good at stabilizing blood sugar levels.

If you would like find out more about the importance of eating your greens or how Nutritional Therapy may help your health and well-being, please call me (Karen) on 07806 611282 or email me in the space below.

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Reference: Morris, M. C., Evans, D. A., Tangney, C. C., Bienias, J. L., & Wilson, R. S. (2006). Associations of vegetable and fruit consumption with age-related cognitive change. Neurology, 67(8), 1370–1376. [online]