Greens are known as the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet, with low-calorie and low-sugar properties. While they don’t share the sweetness of their fruity counterparts, some greens have a deliciously bitter bite, while others boast a richer, mellower taste. But bite for bite, they really deliver the goods.
Green vegetables contain many nutrients including chlorophyll, fiber, apigenin, lutein, catechins, isothiocyanates, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene. They all protect against cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, encourage a healthy digestive system, support eye and bone health, soak up harmful free-radicals and boost the immune system.
Vegetables: Arugula, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, cucumber, green beans, cabbage, green onion, green peppers, watercress, leeks, peas, snow peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, lettuce, zucchini, artichoke.
Fruit: Avocado, green apple, green grapes, pears, honeydew, kiwi, and lime.
Extras: Sea vegetables including nori, dulse, kombu, arame, kelp, wakame. Herbs: dill, parsley, tarragon, cilantro, basil, oregano. Sunflower, broccoli and alfalfa sprouts, wheat and barley grass, green lentils, pumpkin seeds, mung beans, green tea and pistachios.
Chlorophyll is what gives greens their colour and has been likened to the blood of plants. It helps cleanse the our body of toxins and waste products, boosts the immune system to help fight infection and heal wounds, and supports the circulatory and digestive systems. As you eat more chlorophyll from green vegetables, the number of red blood cells increase helping the body use more oxygen efficiently.
If you're not keen on lots of greens, hide them in your food! I put spinach, sunflower sprouts and even kale in our morning smoothie.
I’ve also recently mastered kale chips. I don’t know what took me so long to figure out that the kale leaves need to be dried before drizzling the olive oil and salt on them, before baking at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Now I have a healthy and tasty snack option. Success!
There are so many great recipes to include greens in your diet. Throughout my book, Sprout Right, one of my favourite green recipes is Delicious Dahl. It’s packed with greens including swiss chard, spinach and cilantro. Another, that I’m sharing here is Beany Green Dip. This has such a fresh taste that it’s loved by everyone. Serve it at a summer barbecue or gathering with Mary’s Sticks and Twigs as I have here (curry flavour are a current fave).
A good source of fibre, protein, iron, magnesium, folate, vitamin A, and calcium.
What’s on your plate that’s green today?