Most modern diets could benefit from more green vegetables. When you nourish yourself with greens, you will naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick.
Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are packed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Choose organic greens when you can, but I would rather you eat conventional greens rather than none at all!
Some of the benefits of eating dark leafy greens are:
Strengthened immune system
Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
Lifted spirit and elimination of depression
Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
Cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus
Find greens that you love and eat them often!
Or, be adventurous and try greens that you’ve never heard of before. Rotate between broccoli, bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens and other leafy vegetables. Green cabbage is great cooked or raw, or in the form of sauerkraut. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw, but get creative! Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, inhibits calcium absorption. Cook these vegetables with fat from seeds, nuts, beans, butter, animal products or oil. This will help balance the effect of the oxalic acid.
Try a variety of methods like steaming, boiling, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, or lightly pickling, as in a pressed salad. Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Boil for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea if you’re using organic greens. Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight. Raw salads can be refreshing, cooling and supply live enzymes. Raw vegetables can be too tough for people suffering from IBS symptoms.
Get into the habit of adding these dark, leafy green vegetables to your daily diet. Try it out for a month and see how you feel! Let me know how you sneak greens into your diet AND how it makes you feel in the comments below.
(A great additional resource for recipes and ideas is Greens Glorious Greens by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers.)