“Eat your greens!” Most of us have heard this phrase at one time or another. For people who eat a typical western diet, this could simply mean increasing the amount of lettuce in their sandwich from 1 to 2 leaves a day for example. However, it is not enough!
For example, if you ate 2,700 calories per day, 2 good-sized heads of lettuce (i.e. Cos variety) would account for only approximately 3.5% of your total daily calories consumed. So in actual truth, you need to consume a great abundance of them to boost your nutrient intake.
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard and bok choy, supply high amounts of nutrients, including an abundance of vitamins, such as vitamin A, B’s, C, E, and folate. They also contain a wealth of minerals, such as: iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.
According to the US Department Of Agriculture, dark green leafy vegetables are also abundant in vitamin K, which works to protect you bones from osteoporosis and helps prevent inflammatory diseases. (1)
Green leafy vegetables are very alkalizing for the body and support optimum bodily health. They are a fantastic source of antioxidants, which are known for their anti-ageing and health boosting properties and are a perfect source of protein.
Scientists at the American Institute For Cancer Research found that the components in dark green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach and kale, can prevent the growth of cancer. (2)
One study from the British Medical Journal showed the link between greater intake of dark green leafy vegetables and reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes. (3)
In addition to that, greens, such as spinach kale and lettuce are high in Omega 3 – an essential fatty acid that you need to get from the food that you eat.
Now, let’s take a look at 4 easy ways you can incorporate more greens into your every day diet:
1. Make green smoothies
Green smoothies are a great way to get your greens and are made by blending together soft green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, baby spinach, celery, parsley, with fruits such as oranges, bananas, mangos, kiwis, or nectarines, for example. Fruit and greens smoothies are also very easy to digest and you can take them with you anywhere you go.
2. Prepare salads with greens
This is a straight forward one and here you simply need to chop greens into your favorite salad. For example, you can prepare an easy salad of tomatoes, celery, lettuce and avocado sprinkled with some lemon or lime juice. Salads on their own, however may not appeal to most people. So, to make them even tastier, you can pour a healthy salad dressing over your salad, which brings us onto the next point …
3. Create delicious salad dressings
For many of us a salad would not be anywhere near as delicious without a well-made salad dressing to help give it that extra something that will make the meal so much more enjoyable.
There are many simple salad dressings that you can blend, such as blueberry-celery, mango-tomato-arugula, orange-parsley and many more. Keep your salad dressings simple and use a minimum of ingredients that will deliver maximum flavour without overloading your digestive system.
4. Eat green soups
Raw green soups are another great way to get those much needed nutrients into your diet. Unlike the regular soups that take time to cook, raw soups take just moments to prepare and they are loaded with a wealth of vital nutrients. If you prefer sweet soups, try blending a mango, a bunch of tomatoes, some sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and herbs like dill, cilantro or basil. If you like creamy and savoury soups – try blending sweet corn kernels, avocado, celery, arugula and lemon juice.
Enjoy your greens!
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About the author: Yulia Tarbath is a Nutritionist, parent and world traveller who writes, speaks and coaches on the raw food lifestyle. Along with her husband, Paul Tarbath, they are the authors of several books, including Thrive On Raw and Thrive On Raw Recipes. Paul and Yulia are followed by tens of thousands of people around the globe and they enjoy helping them in transforming their health the natural and holistic way. You can find their work at: www.rawsomehealthy.com