Friday, June 12, 2015

Food Focus: Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are available at the farmers markets this time of year, which means they are in season!
Photo: Kathy Fannon, 2011

Leafy greens taste so much better when bought from a local farmer and eaten right away. They’re fresh, crisp and extra high in nutrient value!

Leafy greens come in dozens of varieties, but the most popular are spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, beet greens, bok choy, lettuce varieties, arugula, swiss chard, cabbage, and even greens like broccoli, basil, cilantro and parsley.

Leafy greens are high in fiber, magnesium, folate, iron, calcium, and vitamins C and K.

Health Benefits of Leafy Greens
Prevent Cancer (colon, breast, lung, stomach)
Prevent Stroke
Lowers Cholesterol
Promotes Bone Health
Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Reduces Type 2 Diabetes
Boost Immune System
Promote Vision Health (cataracts, macular degeneration)
Irritable Bowl Syndrome

Leafy Greens Nutrition
As I compared nutrition facts for various leafy greens the common nutrients they are consistently high in, and varies by particular green, are:
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin C
Vitamin A
Vitamin K

A few surprising facts to me are:
5 fresh basil leaves - 13% vitamin K
2 tablespoons Parsley - 4% vitamin C
1/2 cup Brussels Sprouts - 137% vitamin K, 81% vitamin C
1 cup spinach - 181% vitamin K, 56% vitamin A
1 cup Kale - 206% vitamin A, 134% vitamin C

Wow! As you can see, it doesn’t take much to easily boost your health! 

Challenge: Eat a small salad every day for the next week and see how much better you feel.

See some recipes I pinned on my Pinterest board - Salads: The Health Nut's Casserole for great salad ideas!

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How do you plan to integrate some leafy greens (or just green vegetables) into your diet?

Read my previous post: Take Time: Enjoy Nature