Eat your greens, as many as you can, every day! I could eat salad every single day and never get bored. My body literally craves greens. I know you’re probably thinking “poor thing…she really needs to get a life!” Understand, my salads are far from skimpy; they are complete meals and more filling than most non-salad meals. Really!
My goal here is not to convert you into a salad-eating fanatic, but rather give you fresh ideas and new takes on one of nature’s most nutritious foods—greens. Who knows, you may wind up craving them too!
What’s so special about greens?
Rich in fiber, bioavailable vitamins and minerals, and natural plant compounds called phytonutrients, greens are one of the most impactful foods you could add to your daily diet to promote better health. This is why Fx Pillar #1 is dedicated to this special category of vegetables.
Here are just seven of the many benefits of greens:
- A sharper, younger brain. A 2018 study published in Neurology found slower rates of cognitive decline in people who ate the most servings of leafy greens compared to those who ate the least. Shockingly, the greens-eaters had the memory equivalent of someone 11 years younger!
- Stronger bones. People of all ages are more sensitive to dairy than ever before. Thankfully milk isn’t the only option for calcium. You can get plenty of calcium for supporting optimal bone health from dark, leafy greens.
- Stress relief! Leafy greens are nature’s stress-relievers. They are an excellent source of folate, which helps your body make mood-lifting chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
- Balanced blood sugar. Eating a serving of leafy greens with every meal can support healthy blood glucose levels. Enough said!
- Ease bloating, constipation, and reflux. Digestive conditions like these often result from enzyme deficiencies. Raw, leafy greens are one of the best foods you can eat to support your body’s natural ability to produce digestive enzymes, which are critical for breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from our food.
- Immune system support and decreased cancer risk. Greens are some of the best sources of substances called glucosinolates, which have been frequently analyzed for their cancer-fighting properties, according to the National Cancer Institute.
- Healthy aging. Telomeres are the protective caps on our DNA that shorten with age. A cell dies when its telomeres are completely gone, however greens have the remarkable ability to delay the shortening of these telomeres. Now that’s what I call power!
The many faces of greens
With such a bounty of choices, it’s impossible to get bored with greens! Step into Heinen’s produce department and choose from these top Fx greens and beyond:
- Romaine lettuce
- Swiss chard
Go Green ideas
There are countless ways to add greens to your meals. Try one of the following ideas and start benefitting from the power of greens today!
- A handful of kale to your breakfast smoothie.
- An arugula side salad to your dinner.
- Swiss chard to soups, stews or sauces. Check out this simple recipe for White Bean Chard Soup!
- Cooked spinach to your Sunday omelet.
- Romaine lettuce to sandwiches and wraps.
- Sandwich wraps with a Swiss chard or collard green leaf.
- Potato chips with kale chips.
- Traditional coleslaw with an upgraded version made of shredded red and white cabbage, apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
Food for thought
Greens are Mother Nature’s most nutritious gifts. Taking one small step to include a daily serving or two of greens will empower your body with better health for years to come. Little steps repeated daily yield the biggest results.