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Unwise, Better, Best: Leafy Greens

Posted on Mar 17, 2018 by Felicia Spence, R.D.








Greens are a powerhouse food. Leafy greens include various lettuces, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and cabbage. These greens are rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Nitric oxide found in these plant foods may help aid in decreasing your risk of heart disease and hypertension. Which are the best ones to include in your dietary pattern? Below are our unwise, better, and best options for leafy greens.

 

 

Unwise: Eating no leafy greens at all

If you are opting out in the leafy green world you are opting out of health. Choose whatever green suits your fancy and start putting it in your eating routine. Leafy greens can be put into smoothies, morning egg or tofu scrambles, salads, soups, sandwiches, etc... Seems like you could add a leafy green to any recipe!

 

Better: Iceberg lettuce

It may be the least nutritious but it made it to the better list. It’s crisp, crunchy, and has a mild flavor; all which make it enticing. Ways to increase its nutritive value would be to add other vegetables to a salad (i.e. tomatoes, red onion, and yellow peppers) or adding a variety of vegetables to a sandwich. If this is the only leafy green that you enjoy eating I would say eat it in abundance!

 

Best: All other greens and don’t forget about cabbage!

Cabbage, whether green or red, is considered a cruciferous vegetable. This special category of food contains a certain property called glucosinolates, something that gives this class of vegetables their bitter taste but also inhibits cancer cell growth. Cabbage can be used in salads and coleslaws as a cold option or sautéed, steamed, or mixed in stir fry’s if you would like to eat it warm. The leafy green options are endless!

 

 

There are plenty of greens that you can start exploring! Start with some that are familiar then branch out and see what you like and don’t like. At H3 we use Napa cabbage in some of our Asian influenced salads. We also mix popular greens like Romaine with something that is not so well received like Kale. It makes it less harsh on people’s palate when new foods are incorporated gently into their recipes. H3 challenges you to make a new goal to eat a leafy green each and every day!

 


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