Health Benefits of Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are an essential part of a healthy diet. They provide many important vitamins and minerals that help support optimal health. Examples of leafy greens include spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, mustard greens and bok choy. Adding leafy greens to your diet is an easy way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health. Check out these health benefits of leafy greens:
- Rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium
- Support vision and skin health
- Bolster immune system
- Help maintain a healthy weight
- High antioxidant content linked to reducing risk of cancer and heart disease
- Provide essential fiber to your diet
- Low calorie but still packed with nutritional value
- Improve digestion
- Reduce inflammation in the body
- Contain chlorophyll which can help purify the blood and keep you energized!
How to Add Leafy Greens to Your Diet
Greens provide a variety of flavors to add to any meal! Here are a few easy ways to add leafy greens to your diet:
- Easy sautéed greens. Kale, Swiss chard, and spinach are all delicious sautéed in olive oil with some grated or sliced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes, with an addition of a toss of grated Parmesan to finish it off as a special treat. This side dish can be cooked in a jiffy and can become a tasty addition to your regular menu.
- Substitute greens in your regular dishes. Bagged shredded cabbage is an easy fix to add greens to your weekly means. Instead of using lettuce in your tacos, substitute shredded cabbage. It will give your tacos a crunch factor and add nutrition to your meal. Use finely shredded cabbage or baby spinach when making salads instead of lettuce. This ups the nutrition factor for your meal.
- Leafy greens for breakfast. Yes, you can sneak in a number of leafy green vegetables into your breakfast meal. That easiest is, of course, spinach. When using spinach, be sure to squeeze out the liquid after cooking so you don’t end up with watery spinach in your food. Wilt the spinach in a saute pan then add it to scrambled eggs, omelets and even quiche.
- Make a kale salad. Use kale as a salad by tearing pieces from the stem. Add your usual oil, vinegar and spices, then toss and let the kale site a while to soften. You will end up with an easy salad using one of the best dark green leafy veggies known to pack high nutrition.
- Make homemade soup. Cook down cabbage, kale, spinach or Swiss chard and add to your basic soup. Leafy greens are great in vegetable soups, spinach is excellent in minestrone soup and cabbage can be used in Asian soup recipes.
- Cook with herbs. Surprise: leafy herbs have good nutritional value! There are a number of vitamins and antioxidants in basic cooking herbs. Add flavor to your dishes and nutrition at the same time. Basil contains vitamin A and beta-carotene; cilantro contains vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C; parsley contains vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E; oregano contains vitamin A and vitamin C; and sage contains vitamin A and beta-carotene.