Well, we’ve all heard- “eat your greens!” It’s true, eat your dark, leafy greens, and you will receive your supply of bone strengthening nutrients, along with nourishing chlorophyll. Kale, collards, mustard, turnip tops, bok choy, asian greens, watercress, parsley, broccoli- are the most common greens; all of which we are lucky enough to have grown organically in our region. When greens, like other veggies, are grown organically, we receive the vital nutrients from the soil in a whole food form. Our bodies naturally know how to assimilate the minerals and vitamins from whole food.
The color green is associated with refreshing, vital energy. Nutritionally, they are high in calcium (about 120-190mg per cup), magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. In addition to being a powerhouse for vitamin A, 1C of most dark, leafy green vegetables supply the daily requirement of beta carotene, and vitamins C, E and K. Dark leafy greens are also high in fiber, (more than oat bran!) folic acid, and dozens of trace minerals and nutrients.
For the nutrients to be most available for our bodies, the greens need to be eaten with good quality fat like olive oil or butter. Good fats help to transport the minerals into our bodies in a way that can be easily absorbed. Another reason why low fat diets can be harmful!
Some of the benefits from eating dark, leafy greens are:
• greens purify and build the blood
• improve immune system function
• promote healthy intestinal flora, and east digestion
• help improve liver and kidney function
• lift the spirits and fight depression
• clears congestion, especially in the lungs and intestines
• improve energy levels
Getting your greens every day doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. Here are some easy ways:
1. Add to your salad, with a homemade dressing.
2. The boiling method is easy. Choose any greens, and cut into bite-size pieces. Add 2″ of water, and boil covered 5-7 minutes (until you like the texture). Season with some olive oil and ume plum vinegar-(a salty, tangy condiment sold in natural foods stores) or butter and salt and enjoy! I save the cooking water, and drink it with a few drops of umeboshi vinegar.
3. The stir fry method is easy too- just saute some garlic or in olive oil, add greens and a bit of water, and cook covered 10 minutes. Season with tamari soy sauce and your favorite spices- and enjoy!
4. Save leftover greens for your omelette the next morning or add to soups
Make your own dressing- it’s much healthier! For bitter greens, make the dressing sweet with 1/4 C apple juice or a bit of honey or maple syrup. Here is a great base for creating your own dressings. Just shake, taste, add and enjoy!
1. in a ball jar with a lid, begin with 1/2Cup olive oil
2. add 1/4 Cup raw apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon or lime juice
3. add 1 T prepared mustard or pesto or horseradish
4. add spices of your choice (curry, basil, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon……experiment!
5. shake, taste, add and enjoy!