Get More Greens in Your Diet

By Betty Murray

What one food packs the most nutrients and is most beneficial to your health? Greens. Like them or not, leafy green vegetables are low in carbohydrates, sodium, fat and cholesterol, and are packed with vitamins and minerals that can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

As a general rule, the darker the color, the more nutritious the vegetable. Leafy Green vegetables like spinach are packed with nutrients such as vitamins K, C, E and B vitamins, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. green vegetables are also a source of beta-carotene, lutein and other nutrients, which protect against cell damage and can even help the eyes.

The most power-packed leafy green vegetables include: kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, arugula, romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce and cabbage. If you think you don’t like leafy vegetables, perhaps it’s because you don’t prefer the way they were prepared for you as a child.

There are numerous ways you can get greens in your diet. Here are a few tasty ways to get more greens:

  • Sautee kale, collards, turnips or chard with olive oil or tahini, garlic and broth.
  • Add greens to soups, pasta dishes, casseroles and even your breakfast scramble.
  • Cut cabbage into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite seasoning mix. Roast it in the oven for a few hours until the edges are crisp.
  • Toss spinach and/or kale into the blender with banana, berries and some almond milk for protein for a delicious green smoothie. Avoid additives like sugar.
  • Mix spinach, arugula, and red or green leaf lettuce for a salad. Toss in dried fruit, red onion, feta cheese and drizzle with a light olive oil and lemon dressing.

Many leafy greens can be eaten raw, though others, such as Swiss chard, kale and collard greens are tastier when they are cooked. Many health professionals would argue that because greens can be difficult to digest, you get more of the nutritional benefits of leafy greens when they are blended or processed.

To stay healthy and energized, greens are a must have in your diet. Experiment with different ways to prepare greens until you find a way to enjoy these nutritional powerhouses.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.


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