Benefits of Green Vegetables
Are the most commonly missing
food in modern diets.
Benefits of consuming dark leafy greens include:
Strengthened immune system
Promotion of light, flexible energy
Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
Less congestion and mucus, especially in lungs
Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
Learning to incorporate dark leafy greens into the diet is essential to establishing a healthy body and immune system. Greens help strengthen the blood and respiratory system. When you nourish yourself with greens, you naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick. Leafy green vegetables are also high-alkaline foods. Alkaline minerals in our bodies neutralize acidic conditions caused by the environment. Green vegetables help replenish our alkaline mineral stores and filter out pollutants.
Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. They are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Although choosing organic is recommended, eating non-organic greens is still preferable to not eating any greens at all.
Experiment with Greens
A wide variety of greens are available year round, explore options that you can enjoy an eat often. Experiment with new greens that you have never tried before. Some common options include bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, and dandelion. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun, and wild greens are generally eaten raw, but can be consumed in any creative way you enjoy.
Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of calcium. Rotate a variety of fresh greens in your diet to get the maximum benefits.
Cooking with Greens
Try a variety of methods like steaming, boiling, sauteing in oil, water sauteing or lightly pickling (as in a pressed salad). Boiling helps greens plump and relax. Boil for under a minute to avoid losing nutrients in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a fortifying broth or tea if you are using organic greens.
Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which helps you feel fuller, longer. This is a great way to curb cravings for those trying to lose weight.
Raw salad is also a convenient preparation for greens. It is refreshing, cooling and supplies live enzymes.