If optimal health or weight management is your goal, you really need to love green leaves because they are so very good for you.
Kale, collard greens, turnip greens, carrot tops, swiss chard, spinach, baby spinach & beet leaves, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, watercress & lettuces are” some of the most inexpensive sources of so many important nutrients. Dandelion, red clover, plantain, watercress and chickweed are edible green leaves which you may find growing in your backyard as weeds!
Green, leafy vegetables provide a great variety of colours from the bluish-green of kale to the bright green of spinach. Leafy greens have all types of flavours from sweet to bitter, from peppery to earthy (think nasturtium leaves).
There are so many good, healthy and worthwhile things to mention about leafy greens that I could write a whole chapter on them but for now I’ll just list a few.
Greens are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.
Adding greens to your meal or making a meal around leafy greens is quick, easy and affordable. A large bowl filled with leafy greens gently tossed with healthy oils like MCT or olive oil, topped with boiled eggs, a fillet of salmon or pieces of steak are hearty and yummo! In fact, did you realise that meat has all of the essential amino acids , essential fats and 12 vitamins needed for health? One vitamin is missing – Vit C. Which is why adding leafy greens to your meat meals is so important. Remember…
“Add some greens when you eat meat, They will make your meal complete!”
~Trim Healthy Mama
Folate: The word folate describing the B vitamin originates from the Latin root word folium, which means leaf. Did you know that our body must get folate from food – dark green leafy veggies! Folate deficiency can be quite common and lead to a host of health problems such as digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease birth defects. Folate does other valuable things as well but in a nutshell – you really, really need it.
Beneficial for weight loss: Greens contain nitrites, which have been associated in browning fat cells, meaning converting fat-storing white cells into fat-burning brown cells. This creates extra fat burning and ultimately, weight loss.
Greens are also helpful for anti-aging, cardiovascular health, as well as helpig to fight against both types of diabetes.
Green veggies contain a variety of carotenoids, flavonoids and other powerful antioxidants that have cancer-protective properties. Green leafy vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which can also be converted into vitamin A, and also improve immune function.
The antioxidants like vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin that are contained in leafy greens may help reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin C helps the body make collagen too!
Note 1: Rotate your greens! Don’t eat watercress 7 days a week or baby spinach 6 days a week every week. Change it up! To over consume any one type of green can cause unwanted side effects. For instance, some greens bind calcium so that your body cannot absorb it so variety truly is the spice of life!
Note 2: While leafy greens offer many health benefits, they can sometimes trigger IBS in individuals who are sensitive. If you take a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin), be sure to have your INR levels checked regularly as you increase your intake of dark leafy greens.
Note 3: Spinach and some other greens have a high oxalic content so if you are following a low oxalate diet then you need to limit your amount. Be led by our own body’s need and do what is right for you, if you have a medical condition. And if in doubt, always check with your GP or health professional.
You don’t need a recipe. Just buy a bag of mixed green leaves or a single type. Add a handful to every meal. Simple!