Eating Leafy Greens
Eating Leafy Greens – What are leafy greens anyways? Sounds like a nice word for something clearly leafy and healthy, but are we talking about exactly? Many think spinach, some think lettuce. Both are correct, but it’s more than that. Leafy greens typically entail those greens that are dark green and leafy, which does include spinach and lettuce but also kale, chard, and collard greens.
It does seem that such a small, flat arrangement of cellulose could not possibly hold much in the way of nutrition, but strangely they pack a powerful nutrient punch. First of all they are great sources of folate. This is great for women of reproductive age but helpful for all of us in forming red and white blood cells as well as producing DNA and RNA. Folate also helps us utilize carbohydrates as energy.
Additionally, for those who have a deficiency in an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR for short), dietary folate sources are very important. A good handful of leafy greens every day is a great idea for everyone.
Greens also have vitamin C. Usually, we think citrus, but those dark leaves have an appreciable amount as well. Our bodies use vitamin C to make collagen, support brain health, and as a potent antioxidant. They also have a good dose of vitamin which is super important for blood clotting. Vitamin K also works with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium in supporting healthy bones. Besides vitamins, leafy greens also have important minerals that we need for health. They have some calcium and bit of iron. Since vitamin C helps plant-based iron sources get absorbed more readily, leafy greens come packed ready for maximum absorption.
All those nutrients packed into an inconspicuous green, fibrous plant… who would have thought? But there is knowing about these facts and then choosing to consume. Basically, do they actually taste any good? Those same people crying ‘eat more leafy greens’ are also the same ones who typically say leafy greens are delicious. Have you tasted one of those leaves? We think you can safely call it bleh. The key is you have to prepare them. Or douse them in dressing. It’s easy to make them palatable, so don’t dismiss them until you’ve tried a number of variations.
It’s a good idea to keep them raw as much as possible. Why? Because cooking starts to degrade the vitamins. You won’t get nearly as much folate or vitamin C if you cook them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Keep them fresh, flavored instead with dressings or mixed into flavorful grain or salad dishes. In fact, massaged kale salad is incredibly tasty!
Massaged kale salad