I recently wrote a blog for the integrative medical practice I work with, CentreSpring MD. I thought I would share the helpful information and tips on my blog as well. Everyone could use a little encouragement to eat their greens!
Eating greens every day is ESSENTIAL for good health. Greens are one food I recommend everyone eat, every day. Really, they are that important! Study after study shows the benefits of eating your greens to helping prevent cancer, reduce tumor growth, improve eye sight, lower cholesterol, detoxify the body, reduce inflammation and the list goes on.
I will dive right into the top 5 greens you need to be eating right now, why they are essential to your health, and how to incorporate them into your meal plan so you can jump on it.
Protect yourself from the flu, eat spinach!
Eating spinach can help protect you during this cold and flu season because it is full of vitamins A and C, 2 antioxidants extremely useful in maintaining a strong immune system. Spinach is also a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
- Use: Try my Spinach, Tomato, Mushroom Frittata for breakfast, make a grilled salmon spinach salad for lunch, or add it to a homemade pizza for dinner.
Detoxify your body, eat kale!
Kale, just like all the wonderful leafy greens, is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Something you may not know is kale smashes its competitors in terms of lutein, an antioxidant shown to protect eyesight. I also love that kale is a powerful detoxifer, helping remove and eliminate toxins from our bodies.
- Use: Add to your morning smoothie, munch on kale chips as a snack, or make my favorite Quick and Easy Kale Salad (I make it almost every week!).
Lose weight, eat collards!
Collards are full of vitamin K, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, which are all strong antioxidants helping reduce disease causing inflammation. Collards also contain higher amounts of dietary fiber than other leafy greens. Eating 25 - 35 grams of fiber each day can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and support the digestive system.
- Use: Make a collard green wrap for lunch: Spread 1/4 cup hummus on top of a collard leaf and fill with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and onions.
Reduce your risk for heart disease, eat micro greens!
These are the underdeveloped greens of vegetables such as kale, arugula, and broccoli that are harvested just 1 - 2 weeks after planting. These mini greens can pack more nutritional punch as they are higher in vitamins and minerals than their full size friends. They are also high in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Use: Add micro greens to your avocado toast, grilled chicken salad, or lentil soup for all the extra health benefits.
Protect yourself against cancer, eat broccoli!
This green vegetable is SO important to incorporate into your eating plan. Broccoli is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The most notable attribute of broccoli is its work in helping prevent cancer due to its unique combination of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pro-detoxification components.
- Use: As a side dish by steaming for 3 - 5 minutes to retain as many nutrients as possible then sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.