GREEN Vegetables – Why You Should be Eating Them!
Remember when your mother nagged you to put some green vegetables on your plate and be sure you ate them all? As usual, you should listen to your mother’s advice! Green veggies are chockfull of vitamins and trace minerals that your body needs to be healthy, as well fiber and many other nutrients that are important for good digestion and even for losing weight. You might even say that green leafy vegetables are near-perfect foods, and probably something that just about everyone could use more of in their diet!
Since there are so many foods you might put on your list of vegetables that are healthy, we’ll take a look at 5 of the best choices for your everyday diet, as well as some simple tips for how to make them much less boring in cooking and food prep!
- Kale, spinach and Swiss chard are the best green vegetables
These three green leafy vegetables may be the best vegetables, and even the best foods, you can eat. While each is a bit different, all three are very high in levels of vitamin A, which is needed to help regenerate tissue in the eyes, protecting your vision and reducing your risk of glaucoma and other eye diseases. These veggies also have high amounts of vitamin C, so you can protect and bolster your immune system without filling up on so many oranges!
All three of these leafy greens are also high in levels of magnesium and potassium, trace minerals that are associated with a strong heart and the body’s ability to produce new red blood cells. They’re also very high in protein, making them a great choice for those who are looking to reduce their meat consumption but who still need lots of healthy protein in their diet.
To add more of these to your diet, be sure you chop them into a salad or pile them onto a sandwich. Add them to your fruit and vegetable list that you might mix into a smoothie or protein shake if you just don’t like the flavor.
- Broccoli is so good for you
Broccoli is one of those green veggies that might make a child’s nose crinkle, but it’s so full of healthy nutrients that it’s good to include it in your diet anyway! As with other dark green vegetables, broccoli is high in folate, a B vitamin that protects your heart and your immune system. One cup of broccoli also contains more than 135% of your day’s recommendation of vitamin C, so it’s another of the best vegetables for protecting your immune system!
Consider adding raw broccoli to salads for some crunch, or steam the florets and add a touch of butter for a nice side dish. Broccoli is also on the list of vegetables that work very well in a stir-fry, especially when prepared with chicken and almonds, as it provides some texture and fiber to the dish.
- Add asparagus in your green diet
Asparagus is one of the best green vegetables for getting your antioxidants, those healthy nutrients that fight free radicals, or damaging elements from the environment. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties, so you protect your cells and tissue from damage due to inflammation, which keeps them healthy and in good repair. While asparagus is not one of the leafy green vegetables you should be eating, it’s a veggie that’s also high in vitamins A and C, so it encourages good eye health and support of your immune system. Asparagus is also one of those dark green vegetables that is high in vitamin E, which helps to nourish your body’s organs, including the skin.
Asparagus can be eaten raw but you might just lightly steam it and serve it with a touch of butter. Cut off the ends if you don’t like the taste, as these are usually a bit bitter. Add it to the roasting pan when cooking chicken or beef, and it will absorb the flavor of the meat without losing any of its nutritional value.
- Celery keeps you hydrated
Celery can, and probably should, be added to all your green vegetable recipes, as this amazing veggie is about 95% water! You can get your daily hydration needed from eating more celery, and get filled up as well, so you’re less likely to feel hungry between meals. This added hydration also helps digestion, as moisture in your system break down other foods so your body can better absorb their nutrients and move them along your digestive tract.
Raw celery is a great crunchy snack; add it to your list of vegetables you can eat with a bit of ranch dressing or hummus for dip. It also seems as if the curve of celery was made for a nice smear of peanut butter! It’s one of the best healthy green vegetables you can chop or dice up and add to a salad, soup, or tuna sandwich for more bulk and crunch.
- Leeks and scallions for heart health
Leeks may not be the most popular of all green veggies, but they’re very good for keeping your heart and blood circulation healthy. This is because these oversized onion-like green veggies are full of vitamin K, one of those trace elements you don’t often hear about, but which you need lots of in your system. Scallions are very similar, although they have a higher concentration of vitamin C to protect your immune system, and potassium for heart health.
Try a leek and potato soup as one of your green vegetable recipes, or chop either leeks or scallions and add them wherever you would use onions, such as a tuna or egg salad for sandwiches, when cooking meat dishes of any variety, or served over a burger patty. Scallions are especially good for stir-fry dishes or in vegetable soups. The ends of both scallions and leeks are also chockfull of these nutritious vitamins and trace minerals, so be sure you don’t just toss them out when chopping these healthy green vegetables!