Power Your Health With Power Greens

You’ve probably heard it many times before—greens are good for you. But why? And how can you actually integrate a healthy dose into your regular diet? Here’s a go to guide about the produce powerhouses that deserve space in your fridge.

Power Greens will:

  • Improve energy
  • Reduce cholesterol levels
  • Lessen the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Keep blood glucose in check
  • Build muscle
  • Reduce your risk of cancer

Collards

iStock-172267457.jpg
 

A nutrient-rich power green usually associated with Southern cooking, the wide, flat cabbage leaves of collard greens are known to lower blood cholesterol, prevent cancer, and detox the liver. Look for a vibrant dark green hue for the freshest, crunchiest leaves. Packed full of vitamins and a flavor that’s a bit stronger than spinach, what’s not to like about collard greens? Steam until they’re soft, but still bright green. Or add these greens to vegetable or minestrone soup.

 

Kale 

green plant
 

Curly kale is deep green with ruffled edges. Tuscan kale, aka dinosaur or black kale, has bumpy blue-green leaves. This earthy, bitter green is sweeter in winter, but it’s packed with nutrients year-round. Just one cup of raw kale supplies a day’s worth of vitamins A and C and six times the daily requirement of bone-boosting vitamin K. Kale is a diabetes superfood: it’s low in calories and carbohydrates, and high in protein, which helps keep you full.

 

Spinach

close up photo of green leafed plants
 

Popeye had it right—these large oval-shaped leaves that sprout from a thick central stalk give you a real-life power-up. Tender, crisp, and dark-green, spinach is a favorite ingredient of chefs around the world and also nutrient-rich with protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals. Spinach has remarkable abilities to increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. Scramble an egg with a handful of spinach for a healthy breakfast and alternative to carbs.

 

Swiss Chard

Freshly harvested mangold, chard
 

Electric red, yellow, and orange stalks and dark leaves signal freshness. This savory relative of the beet is brimming with vitamins A, C, and K and provides a daily quota for iron. Swiss chard regulates blood sugar levels and boosts the brain and bones. Stir-fry in olive oil with onions, garlic, portobello mushrooms, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper for a delicious, healthy meal.

 

Arugula

Abundance of fresh greens
 

A cruciferous vegetable, arugula leaves are bite-sized with a nutty, peppery flavor and jam-packed with nitrate, enhancing endurance and athletic performance. Arugula tossed with olive oil and squeezed lemon juice with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pine nuts is a beautiful, simple side salad. These little-lobed leaves pack a nutritional punch without skimping on flavor.

 

Romaine

lettuce

One salad green definitely worth befriending is romaine, sturdy and crisp with upright leaves that form a loaf-shaped head. Lettuce with a healthy crunch, romaine is wonderful not only in salads, but also on sandwiches. A perfect supplement to a weight loss diet with only 8 calories per serving, romaine lettuce also has a high water content, which makes you feel fuller quicker when eating. With high vitamin C and K and potassium levels, romaine is heart healthy and improves muscle strength.

 

Beet Greens

Beetroot plant with four green leaves
 

Beets are brilliant colored root vegetables (most popular in crimson red) that have slightly bitter, flavorful leaves and sweet bulbs. Select fresh beets with crisp greens to get the best flavor and the most nutrients. Beet greens contain high levels of vitamins and fiber, benefiting digestion and lowering risk of chronic disease. The greens’ bitter flavor pairs well with savory ingredients. And don’t forget to eat the root: the natural pigment is a good indicator of its nutritional value—packed full of antioxidants.

 

Preparation Suggestions:

Eating greens is easy! Just throw a handful of these magic greens in any soup, sauce, or stew or add as a complimentary side to any dish for an extra boost of nutritional power. Here are some tips on preparing greens for your daily meals.

  • Blanch hardy greens to soften their bite. Sauté with olive oil and garlic until tender. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice or dash of apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sauté garlic, onion, and lemon zest in olive oil. Add greens and white wine and simmer until soft. Then puree in a blender and serve as a dip with crusty bread.
  • Braise in chicken or vegetable stock.
  • Add a mixture of dark greens (spinach, collards, kale), lemon, berries, nuts and seeds, and fat-free milk or yogurt into a blender. Blend until smooth and drink up.

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