Finding new ways to get your greens is worth the effort. You can hide them with the other fruits and vegetables in a smoothie, stir fry them, put them in soups or add them to your salad. No matter how you add greens to a diet, you’ll be adding more nutrients. Of course, the best way to eat greens is as fresh as possible and raw, but adding them at the last minute to stir fry or topping a cooked pizza with them, allowing the heat from the pizza to cook them, also preserves many of the nutrients.
Greens provide a powerhouse of nutrients.
Greens provide more nutrients per calorie than any other food. The darker the greens, the better in most cases. While almost all types of greens are packed full of goodies that will make your body say thank you, some are better than others. Iceberg lettuce, for example, doesn’t contain many nutrients and is mostly water, so replacing it with Romaine lettuce might be a better choice. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach or kale provide excellent sources of iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and other mineral. They also contain phytonutrients, vitamins K, C, E and B vitamins and may even have a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Greens are low in calories and fill you up without filling you out.
Eating a huge salad of mixed greens and other vegetables can be an entire meal for some people. For those who still want meat, adding bits of chicken or other animal protein is a topper that makes it a complete meal. Others will find adding plant protein, such as pumpkin seeds, chick peas or even roasted portabella mushrooms. Some greens, such as arugula are higher in protein. You’ll be able to eat a huge salad and the most fattening part will be the dressing.
Greens contain a high amount of vitamin K.
Vitamin K is a vital, often overlooked nutrient that does so much for your body. Vitamin K helps regulate blood clotting, prevent osteoporosis, might be a preventative for diseases such as arthritis by reducing inflammation and can help prevent build up of plaque in the arteries. Kale is one excellent source. What used to be a decoration for salad bars is now praised as one of the miracle foods. It’s a great addition to a salad, stir fry or other type of cooking and is the secret ingredient in the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden. YUM!
Mustard greens and kale are two greens that can help you lower your bad cholesterol by forcing the liver to use up the cholesterol to make bile that binds with the fibers in these foods.
Greens help boost bone health with their high levels of calcium. The more bitter the taste of the green, normally the higher the calcium level.
Greens support eye health with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin that help prevent cataracts and improve vision in other ways, too.
Greens lower the risk of colon cancer particularly kale and mustard greens, which belong to the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.