Leafy Greens Can Be Lucky Charms for Health
Green foods on St. Patrick’s Day are a given. And while Americans typically associate the Irish holiday with a bright green brew, there are healthier ways to green up this holiday.
Enjoy the annual pint of green beer, but save room for one (or more!) of these “lucky charms” loaded with vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and folate, plus powerful, disease-fighting cholorphyll:
- Mustard Greens They’re one of the most nutritious leafy greens on the block, packed with vitamin A, vitamin K and powerful plant nutrients. They also have a signature peppery flavor punch. Include them in salads, smoothies and soups, scramble them into eggs or mix them with pork or bacon (preferably the turkey variety) for a side dish.
- Swiss Chard Related to beets and spinach but with a taste that falls somewhere in between, Swiss chard contains a unique mix of plant nutrients. Its colorful stalks and leaves are concentrated in disease-fighting chemicals, and unlike other greens, you can eat them. Sauté it with garlic and olive oil, serve it over polenta or grits or mix it into a frittata along with Parmesan and Swiss cheeses.
- Kale Packed with vitamins A, K and C, as well as calcium, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and a hit of Omega-3 fatty acids, kale is a nutritional powerhouse that can be tossed into salads and pasta, added to pizzas or included into soups and stews.
- Turnip Greens With an impressive range of nutrients—including vitamins K, A, C and calcium—turnip greens actually pass greens like kale and collards in terms of nutritional benefits. Since they’re among the bitterest greens in the produce section, they are rarely eaten raw. However, you can sauté turnip greens with oil and lemon, add them to stuffing, casseroles, quiche and stews or mix them with spinach for a vegetarian lasagna.
- Collard Greens Best known in southern-style cooking, collard greens are closely related to kale and cabbage in terms of nutrients and health benefits. They cook up similarly, too, and are a great complement to meat and fish dishes.
- Cabbage Whether you eat it raw, toss it into a salad or simmer it in a pot with stew or corned beef, cabbage is a St. Patrick’s Day staple. It’s rich in vitamins A, K and C, calcium and fiber. It also has a distinctive flavor and crunch.
Each of these greens adds a healthy dose of disease-fighting nutrients to your plate—and they taste delicious in almost any cider-based recipe (like corned beef), too. So there’s no reason not to indulge in these tasty veggies!
How could you add a leafy green to one of your family’s favorite dishes? Which of these leafy greens could you plant in your garden this year?