Eat This: Leafy Green Superfoods
Popeye had it right. He knew the secret to good health was to eat those greens. Green veggies are chock-full of nutrients that ward off infection, cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Adorn your plate with these incredibly delicious and healthy leafy green vegetables if you want to reach peak of your health goals.
The Superfood Contenders
Kale: With dark leaves that sit on a firm stem and incredibly high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, kale is quite the amazing green. It contains anti-cancer properties that block cell growth and repair damaged DNA. Kale is also rich in calcium, iron, and chlorophyll (cancer fighter).
- How to eat it: Kale leaves are tough when raw, so many people tend to cook it or soften it by denaturing the leaves with an acidic property (like lemon juice). With its versatility, kale can be used in smoothies, salads, soups, and main dishes. If you are throwing vegetables into your meal, don’t forget the kale.
Bok Choy: Commonly known as Chinese White Cabbage, bok choy is packed with vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, and folic acid. With beta carotene (antioxidant fighting abilities), you’ll easily ward off sickness. Aside from its wonderful health benefits, bok choy is a low-carb, low-cal, zero fat alternative.
- How to eat it: Bok choy is crisp to the bite and has a mild taste, which makes it great to eat raw. Sauté it in olive oil for a quick stir-fry. It cooks very easily, so be on the lookout for over cooking.
Spinach: A good go-to green, spinach is full of vitamins K and A, folate, calcium, and protein. Eating spinach preventst overeating since it contains high amounts of fiber. With its vitamin A content, spinach provides people with a natural approach to fighting off infection. Since spinach is easy to grow, it can be found in grocers for relatively low prices compared to other green superfoods. Spinach can also be grown in your garden for easy implementation into your diet.
- How to eat it: Eaten cooked or raw, spinach can be thrown into any meal. Add it in an omelette for breakfast, have a spinach salad for lunch, or sauté it with a lean meat for dinner. If you’re feeling adventurous, try doubling up your salads with both kale and spinach.
Collard Greens: People in the south love their collard greens. Want to know why? Collard greens are high in magnesium (natural detox), beta carotene, and calcium. Packed with fiber, collard greens are a plus for digestive health, it keeps you regular, and also are an anti-inflammatory agent that reduces your risk of digestive related illnesses.
- How to eat it: Over cooked collard greens will start to smell sulfurous, so after about five minutes, you greens will be done. Try steaming or sautéing, with a side of protein. Collard greens can also be eaten raw. Toss them in a salad with your favorite toppings.
Watercress: Grown in water, watercress is low in calories and high in antioxidants. In addition to its antioxidant elements, watercress is high in iron and vitamins A and C. All of these properties make watercress a powerful food that rids the body of free radicals. If you live near a stream, you can even grow you own watercress.
- How to eat it: Watercress is best eaten raw to obtain all of its health benefits. Throw it in a salad with your favorite Asian style toppings and seasoning. If you’re cooking a stir fry for dinner, sauté it lightly and add in some tasty tofu.
Swiss Chard: Your eyes will gleam when you get your hands on some beautiful chard with its green leaves and hints of red, yellow, and purple. These colors mean one thing; swiss chard is a hefty green vegetable containing high amounts of vitamins K, A, and C. Chard is also an excellent source of beta carotene and other antioxidants that aid in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure.
- How to eat it: Chard can be eaten raw, but is a bit on the tougher side. Served best blanched or sautéed, chard is paired well with Mediterranean flavors. Try herbs like rosemary or dill or toss it in your favorite pasta.
Feel like exploring some new greens? Try out radish greens and beet tops (just buy the whole radish or beet and cut off the tops). These greens are filled with vitamin C, calcium, and protein.
Want to try some algae? Spirulina, seaweed, and chlorella are rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants. These greens ward off infections and protect your cells from damage.