There are a whole lot of reasons why you need to start making greens a part of your diet. I'll discuss those next, but first I want to say just one thing; greens can be really delicious! That’s right, gone are the days that eating your green vegetables has to mean gagging down an unappetizing blob of dull green colored mush on the side of your plate. No longer do you need to dread forcing yourself or your family to eat these health-building plants because I will share how people are truly enjoying their greens. When prepared in some of the following new ways, greens can actually be an appealing food to look forward to for even the pickiest of eaters. But first, understand that leafy green vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods there are and they should be making it into your diet every single day without exception. Here is why: Greens have a multitude of minerals in them like potassium, magnesium and absorbable iron and calcium* just to name a few. They contain most of the B vitamins, including an abundance of folic acid or folate, critical to preventing birth defects and proven to help manage healthy brain function. A diet with a high consumption of greens has been linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of hip fracture in middle-aged women was decreased 45% for one or more servings per day of green, leafy vegetables. They are gloriously high in vitamin C and full of dietary fiber for satiation and weight loss. All leafy green vegetables are extremely low in fat with the trace amounts being those of healthy omega -3 fatty acids. They are naturally a low glycemic food with little carbohydrate and are excellent in helping to control diabetes with barely any impact on blood glucose.
But this is just the beginning because greens are also a major source for key phytochemicals like beta-cryptoxanthin, and beta-carotene which converts into vitamin A, and also improves immune function. Not to mention zeaxanthin and lutein (both carotenoids that are concentrated in the eye lens and macular region of the retina, to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration that occur with aging. Antioxidants like vitamin E in green leafy vegetables help to protect against free radicals and stop the coating of artery walls while the rich fiber content helps eliminate unwelcome plaque build-up on those walls, slowing the aging process. So far studies are showing that eating leafy green cuts yours risk of developing stomach cancer, lung cancer, breast and colon cancer, and those are just the ones that have been proven!
Here is a very basic recipe below that is bound to wow the whole family! feel free to get creative in adding any other herbs or seasonings, fresh or dried, that suit your fancy!!!
Kale Chips Recipe:
- 1 bunch kale or collards
- 3-4 tbsp ground chia seed or flax seed powder
- 1 meyer lemon, or substitute an orange if you like a little less tang
- Sea salt to taste (optional)
Cut or rip the leaf portions off of the stems. Put the leaf pieces in a bowl, squeeze the lemon into the bowl over your hand, catching any seeds ,sprikle on the chia or fax powder and massage so that all leaves are lightly coated, if using salt, do so now and go easy on it- saltiness will become intensified as your chips dry. Set oven on its lowest possible setting (usually about 300 degrees) and bake around 30 minutes, just checking for your greens to get crispy. These chips are also often made in a home food dehydrator where you can place the dressed kale on the mesh sheets and dehydrate them for 12 hours at 118 degrees.
*Once you get the hand of making these, try adding different spices like Italian flavorings, cayenne pepper, garlic granules or taco seasoning!
*With the exception of Swiss chard and spinach which may, due to the presence of oxalic acid have less available calcium than most greens.