Even if you’re not Irish, partaking in a meal loaded with greens is a lucky thing for your overall health. Green fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals while also adding fibre to your diet. Many of the nutrients found in greens help with the prevention of numerous diseases. So this St. Patrick’s Day opt for some of these green foods that will see good health as the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow.
Broccoli is a very healthy food choice. It contains the vitamins A, C which help fight skin damage and aids in the formation of collagen; and K which improves bone structure and improves calcium absorption. Broccoli also contains folate and fibre which can prevent constipation and plays a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation as well as offering protection against chronic diseases
Broccoli is a versatile vegetable which can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Raw florets make a great snack or addition to a salad or they can be tossed into soups, stews, casseroles and stir-frys.
Popeye knew the power of spinach with all its essential vitamins and minerals. Spinach is a great source of vitamins A and K and contains iron and folate. Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid which has been known to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes for diabetics.
Spinach also contains chlorophyll which has proven to be effective at blocking carcinogens; beta-carotene which lowers the risks for developing asthma; and has a high potassium content which helps to lower blood pressure.
These leafy greens can be eaten raw in a sandwich or salad, or used in soups, casseroles, dips and stuffings.
Kiwi fruit is a high source of Vitamin C which is immune boosting and also essential in the production of collagen that improves overall skin texture. The fibre and potassium in kiwi support heart health reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease. It has been reported to have a mild laxative effect making it a great dietary supplement for those who suffer from constipation.
This fruit is great in salads, as a topping on yogurt or cereal and even in chicken recipes.
Honeydew is a nutritious melon that contains Vitamin C, folate and potassium. Honeydew is also a good source of several B vitamins which help the body rid itself of toxins and reduce the risks of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. It is also a good source of copper which aids in the regeneration of skin cells and the body’s ability to repair muscle and tissue. Finally it has a high water content which helps to hydrate the body.
Honeydew wedges are a great snack and also great in salads. Another great way to enjoy this melon is using it for a chilled soup.
Celery is another high-fibre vegetable that makes a great low calorie snack. It is rich in vitamin K, and it also contains folate, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C which work towards the prevention of high blood pressure and cancer, and also helps the immune system function optimally.
Celery can be eaten raw or cooked and can be used in a variety of ways: as a snack with cheese or peanut butter, in salads, a base flavouring agents in soups and risottos or combined with other healthy greens like cucumber, apple and spinach for a smoothie.
These stalks are packed with health benefits. Asparagus is good source of iron, folate, and vitamins A, C, E and K along with chromium which aids with the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. It is also packed with antioxidants that neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Loaded with B12 it is also a brain booster helping fight cognitive decline.
It is a high fibre vegetable and a natural diuretic releasing fluids and helping the body rid itself of excess salts. Asparagus can be enjoyed in a number of different ways: roasted, grilled, stir fried, in soups, omelettes and risotto.
Green beans are another vegetable loaded with healthy benefits. They contain a high amount of chlorophyll, which help block carcinogens. Rich in iron they help prevent anemia and promote fertility in women. They are also a great source of folic acid which helps to protect against neural tube defects in infants. Green beans also have calcium and Vitamin K helping bones stay strong.
They can be eaten raw, added to salads or dipped into hummus, roasted or steamed, and used in soups and casseroles.
These leaves with their peppery taste provide the body with a number of beneficial nutrients. Arugula is a superfood that is detoxifying and cancer-fighting. Loaded with calcium and vitamin K it strengthens teeth and bones as well as playing a role in the prevention of heart disease.
Arugula contains indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates which help to reduce chronic inflammation; and being high in most of the B vitamins as well as folate it helps protect against cognitive decline.
Enjoy a great big salad of this low calorie leaf to reap all its benefits.
So this St. Patrick’s Day load up on this green goodness and you’ll be celebrating good health.