Healthy Cooking Tips Part IV: Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are the foods most missing in modern diets.  Adding just one serving of greens a day to your diet can create and maintain health.  The most poplar green vegetable in America is lettuce.  As lovely as lettuce is, there are dozens of other beneficial, nutrient packed green vegetables to choose from.  Bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collard greens, watercress, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, escarole, and broccoli rabe are great leafy green choices with limitless cooking possibilities.  Arugula, endive, chicory, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw and in salads, but can be fantastic slightly wilted.  Asparagus, snap peas, snow peas, and artichokes are an easy way to integrate mild green vegetables into the diet.  Brussel sprouts when shredded raw in a slaw or cooked with the leaves separated are surprisingly sweet and delicious.

Benefits:

Nutritionally, green vegetables are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.

Additional benefits from eating greens are:

  • Blood purification
  • Cancer prevention
  • Improved circulation
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
  • Promotion of subtle, light and flexible energy
  • Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
  • Cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus

Cooking Tips:

Try a variety of methods like steaming, boiling, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, or oven roasting.  Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Boil for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health boost if you’re using organic greens. Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight.  Eating greens raw (the easiest cooking tip) is refreshing, cooling and supplies live enzymes.

Easy ways to incorporate green vegetables into your diet, other than salad:

  • Oven roasted kale with sesame seeds – lightly toss kale with olive oil, salt and pepper, place on baking sheet and bake on 350 for 10 minutes tossing frequently.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  • Swiss chard sautéed in olive oil with crushed red pepper and lemon juice.
  • Collard greens sautéed in vegetable broth with garlic and onions.
  • Whole-wheat pasta with olive oil, coarse black pepper, white wine, parmigiano cheese, a dash of lemon juice and chopped fresh arugula, spinach and basil tossed in.
  • Cabbage slaw on fish, shrimp or black bean tacos.
  • Add escarole to vegetable, white bean or chicken soup.
  • Multigrain toast with an over easy egg and leftover greens as an effortless healthy breakfast.
  • Green juices or add kale, chard or spinach to smoothies.
  • Asparagus or artichoke hearts with your eggs benedict instead of bacon.
  • Throw any combination of dark leafy greens into a stir-fry.
  • Arugula on pizza is a simple and delicious way to add nutrients to a greasy delight.

DK

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