Go Beyond Kale and Explore More Greens
Kale is an excellent green to add to your routine, but it’s not the only green that packs a powerful nutrient punch. Rather than boring yourself with the same old salad or cooked greens in your meal, why not try a few alternatives? Mix up your next meal with these delicious greens:
An excellent source of antioxidant vitamins (A and C), watercress is also a source of vitamin K for bone health and contains lutein and zeaxnthin to help protect your vision and support your cardiovascular system. Watercress can be enjoyed cooked or fresh, as a replacement for lettuce in salads and anywhere you use greens.
Another good source of vitamin A and C, Belgian endive also is a good source of folate for pregnant mothers, as well as calcium. It is also high in dietary fiber to assist your digestive system and help with weight management programs by helping you feel full longer. This green can be served raw or cooked; however, it has a slight bitter taste so is best when matched with a sweeter fruit or vegetable.
A single cup of chopped boiled Swiss chard contains an astounding 636% of your daily dose of vitamin K, as well as 60% vitamin A and 42% vitamin C. Swiss chard is also a good source of magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, vitamin E, iron, and fiber, plus many more. This is one powerhouse of a veggie! Because of the high concentration of oxalic acid, it is recommended that you slice Swiss chard into 1-inch wide pieces (smaller for stems) and boil for 3 minutes.
If you thought chard was good for you, check out mustard greens! An amazing source of vitamins K, A, and C (as well as copper and manganese), mustard greens can help with cancer prevention and help the body detox to remove impurities. To maximize the nutrients in mustard greens, rinse and slice into ½” ribbons. Toss with lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes to activate enzymes prior to cooking.
High in calcium and rich in iron, dandelion greens are an excellent supplement for vegans who want to ensure adequate intake of these nutrients. Dandelion greens are considered a great addition for health-conscious people wishing to detox their system as it offers excellent liver support and is rich in antioxidants. In the spring, you can pick your own greens, or you can find them in many health food stores. Since the greens tend to be bitter, they are best added to smoothies.
Turnip & Beet Greens
Not only a good source of vitamins K, A, and C, turnip and beet greens are both excellent sources of folate, manganese, and copper. Both greens offer detox support, antioxidant phytonutrients, and anti-inflammatory benefits. The fiber found in beets is considered unique (found only also in carrots) and may assist in the prevention of colon cancer. Both turnip and beet greens are excellent served steamed, baked, or in soups and salads. Finally, changing up your selection of greens on a regular basis lets you continue buying local – so you can not only support your local economy but help reduce CO2 production created during the shipping process. Go greens!Photo credit: eflon