Let me guess. You’ve probably heard the time-tested phrase: “Eat your greens!”
Along with the infamous spinach-eating cartoon, Popeye, we could all take notes from our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ advice!
While I’m a huge proponent of eating a WIDE variety of all plants, leafy GREENS are, perhaps, the most important plant that we should include daily in our diets!
When I say “leafy greens,” I mean things like:
Mixed salad greens
Of course, there are other greens that are important, like celery, avocado, cucumber, broccoli and the like, but LEAFY greens pack an especially important amount of nutrients…
1) Calcium – With so many lactose intolerant folks, the next best source of dietary calcium is greens!
2) Folate – As an especially important vitamin for pregnant mothers and babies, greens deliver a great source of folate to support neurological function and growth.
3) Chlorophyll – All green plants contain chlorophyll, which is the most critical substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from sun and convert it into usable energy.
Chlorophyll in greens is linked to cancer prevention and blocking absorption of toxic cancer-causing substances, (Mata, 2009)!
4) Magnesium – As a mineral involved in over 300 body processes, at least 68% of Americans do not consume the recommended daily mount of magnesium (Falloon, 2005). This is due to depleted soil and water, environmental contaminants, and poor lifestyle and dietary choices.
As a crucial part of your mitochondria, magnesium helps the body produce energy, so eating greens are a great way to boost magnesium intake, and thus, energy production!
5) Protein – For a vegetable, leafy greens provide a surprisingly large amount of protein to sustain energy and provide the building blocks for protein production in the body. For instance, 1 cup of raw kale has 6.5 grams of protein, and cooked spinach has 5 grams of protein!
6) Fiber – As an important part of colon health - both for elimination AND to feed our colonic bacteria – greens are filled with fiber to aid us in both.
Folks, there are SO many ways to include leafy greens in your diet on a regular basis, and with summer here, there is an abundance of options to choose from at the farmers market!
Try adding spinach to a smoothie; make a big salad with mixed greens for lunch, bake kale chips for an appetizer, and sauté Swiss chard as a side with dinner.
Keep it simple, check our Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter pages for recipe ideas, and remember to follow the old adage, “Eat your greens!”
Mata, John. Chlorophylls effective against aflatoxin. Eureka Alert.
29 December 2009. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/osu-cea122909.php