Some days you could kale for a salad and others you couldn’t care cress. We’re always told to eat our greens but with so many new ones being marketed many questions still romaine. If your knowledge is a little green then read my advice on how to choose and eat these beneficial leaves.
Leafy greens are nutritious members of the vegetable family. They include brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage and salad staples such as spinach, cos and iceberg lettuce. Less common greens are turnip and beetroot leaves and don’t forget about healthful herbs.
Greens, leaf other vegetables behind in nutrient content. They’re high in fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, C, B and K. They also have phytochemicals that fight disease and ageing. Their calories are minimal and they help maintain blood glucose levels with a low glycaemic index and high-water content.
Variety in your greens is crucial. If everyday you’re brusselin’ then you need to add something new. Each type of green is not created equal – some definitely pack more of a nutritional punch. Diversity means you’re going to broaden the range of vitamins and minerals in your diet and gain more benefits.
You should consume at least one and a half cups of leafy greens per week. This should be easy as they’re versatile and add texture and bulk to your favourite meals. Choose greens that have a vibrant colour and a crisp texture. Slimy or yellow leaves mean they have started to spoil.
Store greens in a cool place with a small amount of moisture. Delicate greens such as herbs can be stored in bags or small containers lined with a paper towel to increase their longevity. If you can’t find decent, fresh greens then frozen ones have a similar nutrient value. Cook your greens lightly to retain vitamin C or eat them raw after washing.
Kale is commonly regarded as the most nutritious green. In fact, when all greens were analysed according to their vitamin and mineral content water cress, bok choy, silver beet and beetroot greens all knocked kale out of the veggie patch. Chicory, spinach and turnips weren’t far behind.
Water cress is an economical member of the mustard family and can be added to sandwiches and salads. Bok choy is a cruciferous vegetable that has superb anti-cancer properties and is fantastic in stir fries and soups. Silver beet is a chard that works well with lemon, garlic or fetta. Slice it thinly and steam it for a few minutes.
Beetroot leaves make a delicious, colourful addition to salads or stir-fries. They’re full of antioxidants and go beautifully on flat bread. Chicory is high in selenium and magnesium and can be steamed or eaten raw in salads. Turnips and their leaves are salad superstars that top the lutein nutrient charts. They’re delicious when lightly sautéed with garlic.
Lettuce not forget all the other greens such as rocket, spinach, cabbage, brussel sprouts, sorrel and all the hero herbs out there. The garden of leaves is plentiful and should be added to all your meals. It’s time to turnip the greens in your diet and watch your health flourish.