Did you know that eating leafy green vegetables can help you not only stay healthy and reduce risk of disease, but give you tons of energy as well? Natural green vegetables can also help you regenerate and stay healthy. Therefore, it is more than reasonable to integrate green leafy vegetables into the diet.
Leafy green vegetables contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. In fact, a cup of cooked spinach contains more of these vital nutrients than a whole egg. They are the finest vegetables that make a good contribution to a healthy and stimulating diet, especially in autumn and winter.
Fresh greens taste great and spruce up any meal. Have your greens in a salad, on a sandwich, or many others ways. Instead of picking up a plain old, nutrient empty, head of iceberg lettuce, choose one of these nutrient rich options.
Green leafy vegetables include lettuces , cabbages, spinach and chard, purslane, the Asian pak choi and, of course, wild herbs such as nettle and dandelion. Many of these we have known for a long time, others have only been regularly available in the markets for a few years.
Here are seven super greens and some tips on how to add them to your diet.
Raw spinach is a super source of vitamin A, and also contains vitamin C, calcium and iron. The spinach, like any other vegetable, is very low in calories. There are no more than 17 kcal per 100 grams of spinach. This green vegetable can make a significant contribution to meeting our daily nutrient needs.
Spinach is also known as the best source of antioxidants. It helps to reduce oxidative stress and reduce the damage caused by free radicals. A study for which subjects consumed 225 grams of spinach daily confirms that spinach protects against oxidative damage in DNA. The easiest method to acquire the most lutein from spinach is to avoid cooking it. While eating raw spinach is fine, chopping it in a blender — for example, to make a smoothie — or in a juicer releases more lutein from the leaves.
Spinach is not only great as a salad green, but it also tops sandwiches and burgers quite nicely. Want something different to do with your spinach? Make a tasty spinach dip, right in your own kitchen. Boil a handful of fresh spinach in a ¼ cup water just until it softens. Drain, rinse and let cool. Mince one clove of garlic. Mix spinach and garlic together with 2 cups of sour cream. Heat up before serving and top with some grated mozzarella cheese.
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Research tells us that romaine lettuce nutrition is quite impressive due to its high levels of antioxidants and other important vitamins and minerals – including vitamins A and C, folate, vitamin K and more.. Romaine is best known for it’s presence in Caesar salads.
Thanks to its longevity and robust “crunch,” romaine lettuce adds not only nutrients to your salads, sandwiches or other recipes, but also variety in terms of texture and flavor. For a different salad, make yourself an antipasto salad using Romaine. Top your lettuce with diced ham, pepperoni, yellow banana peppers, green bell peppers, green and black olives and some shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with some light Italian dressing, or make your own dressing with some olive oil, crushed garlic and fresh or dried basil.
Because of its great taste, ease of use and and high nutrient profile, there is reason to include romaine lettuce in your diet on a regular basis.
Mache is also known as lamb’s lettuce and has a sweet and nutty flavor. This green is rich in folate, in fact just one cup of the leaves give you 80% of your recommended daily dosage of this B vitamin. Lamb’s lettuce is also a strong source of iodine in vegetables, which is especially useful for those who do not eat fish regularly, such as vegetarians.
Lamb’s lettuce provides other essential elements: iron for its role in binding and transporting oxygen, calcium for the formation and growth of bones and teeth, potassium to regulate voltage and sodium for muscle contractions and the body’s ionic balance. Aside from these beneficial components, the green leafy vegetable is very low in calories. Mache has only 14 calories per 100 grams, making it a good choice for a diet. Best uses for mache are adding it to your normal choice of salad lettuce, or blending it up in a pesto.
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Arugula is fun to say and fun to eat! It is rich in beta-carotene which helps strengthen your immune system. Arugula is a good source of vitamin K, a compound associated with different benefits for bone health. It also has low levels of oxalate, which prevents bone and nerve degeneration, and the appearance of kidney stones.
This vegetable is a good option to enrich the diet with vitamins and minerals, besides being rich in fiber and low in calories, and can be consumed in weight loss diets, in its raw form or sautéed in salads or soups, for example. Arugula can be found at supermarkets, grocery stores, and health food stores, but it must be used as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet to enjoy the advantages.
This green leafy vegetable has a slightly peppery taste and is a great addition to Caesar salad and chicken wraps. Create a potato Caesar salad by chopping up leftover baked potatoes and tossing them with arugula, Parmesan cheese, fresh diced garlic and some Caesar dressing. Use it in place of iceberg on your BLT to give it a kick.
Just a ½ cup of oakleaf lettuce has 100% of your daily recommended vitamin A. This sweet, buttery green can help improve your night vision. Now that is definitely a super green. It contains a great variety of minerals although in small quantity. It is also very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folic acid.
Add this fluffy lettuce to any salad or sandwich. Studies have shown that people who increase their consumption of foods rich in vitamin A can increase their night visibility by nearly 100% in just six weeks!
The oak leaf (like most lettuces¨) is composed of water, so we will avoid it at night to avoid increasing our fluid retention, especially in summer, although it is very light, always better at mealtime.
Among the most outstanding characteristics of Swiss chard is its nutritional profile, since the vitamins and minerals it contains are essential for human well-being. It include vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E, riboflavin and vitamin B6.
Swiss chard is rich in the flavanoid syringic acid. This acid slows the absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine. So, not only does it balance blood sugar levels, it helps curb craving. This leafy vegetable is also packed with minerals, in fact, it includes a large amount of magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, sodium and copper. It is also a good source of dietary fiber.
Swiss chard is wonderful when added into soups and chowders. Just chop some up and add it in about five minutes before cooking time is done.
The escarole salad is very low in calories, but it is rich in antioxidants. It contains fiber, vitamin B9 and trace elements in significant quantities. One cup of escarole contains almost enough vitamin K to cover your recommended daily allowance. Now that’s a powerful green. This super lettuce will kick your brain into high gear by speeding up your mental processing abilities.
Instead of having your normal everyday pasta, saute up some escarole and mix it with some cooked pasta, cooked broccoli florets and sunflower seeds. You can prepare it as a salad, its taste and crunchiness are perfect with goat cheese or blue cheese, nuts and croutons rubbed with garlic. It goes perfectly with smoked salmon, with a few sunflower seeds briefly fried.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! It’s loaded with Vitamin K and Vitamin A and tens of thousands of other amazing phytonutrients and antioxidants. Kale is incredibly anti-inflammatory so it’s great for anyone with inflammation – whether you’re overweight or have arthritis, heart disease or auto-immune disorders. Kale is also loaded with anti-cancer nutrients like glucosalinates.
The high fibre content of kale makes it an excellent digestive aid. Soluble fibres, which are found in the form of a gel in the plant’s heart and disperse in water, and insoluble fibres, which are found in leafy vegetables and aid food circulation between the intestines and stomach, are both present. Both of these aid in the movement of food through the intestines.
This fibre decreases cholesterol levels while also slowing glucose absorption into the bloodstream. Consumption of this alkaline diet helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system as well as digestive health.
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So are you eating enough leafy green vegetables?
Think back to your last three meals: Did you cover a lot of different colors – red, green, yellow, orange, purple, and so on? Or do the same colors always predominate on your plate?
Green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale and savoy cabbage are far behind these “classics” on the popularity scale. As we will see in a moment, green vegetables are among the healthiest things you can eat – and are therefore an essential part of a balanced diet.
Okay, of course I don’t know if you should eat “more” green vegetables – if they’re already on your menu every day, then that’s great and you’re already doing everything right.