Lately, I have been making a conscious effort to make sure everyday is filled with meals that contain green vegetables, especially leafy greens. Greens not only make your plate look pretty, but are actually jam packed with essential nutrients and vitamins that are necessary for a healthy body. Greens are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. Many contain folate, calcium, potassium, protein (yes, protein!) and fiber.
Here are some of the reasons why these nutrients are important to our health:
potassium: important to heart and muscular function
calcium: needed for bone health
protein: builds and repairs tissue
fiber: normalizes bowel movements
folate: helps with mental health and the production of DNA
vitamin A: supports vision and protects the bones and skin
vitamin C: helps repair and regenerate tissues; aids in iron absorption
vitamin K: needed for strong bones; helps the blood clot
Some examples of green vegetables are kale, collards, swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, red and green lettuce, romaine lettuce, and cabbage. Greens can add quite a bit of flavor to your dish and are easy to incorporate. I usually throw them in a pasta dish either raw or steamed. I also eat them in salads, on sandwiches, mixed with tofu, and in a rice bowl.
Here is one of my green infused pasta recipes:
Lentil Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Mixed Greens
- 1 1/2- 2 cups of organic lentil pasta
- a handful of lettuce (spring mix)
- 1/4 cup of chopped up artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup of low salt tomato sauce
- cracked pepper
- Cook pasta according to instructions on package
- Top with sauce, spring mix, and artichoke hearts
- Sprinkle with some cracked pepper
It may be a challenge to include greens as part of your everyday diet, but once you start making it a routine to do so, you will be hooked and your body and mind will thank you!