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7 Shades of Green
Discover the health benefits of seven glorious greens to cook, juice and eat raw. Learn more about kale, spinach, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, dandelion greens, and beet greens, plus ways to incorporate more of their nutrients into your life.
In a world where healthy eating habits are becoming more and more practiced, it’s no secret that kale is good for you. A pioneer food in the eating green movement, kale has been ahead of its time for quite a while. But, aside from the fact that it blends flawlessly well in a smoothie, what makes it stand out as a leafy leader? It is impressively high in both fiber and iron. In fact, it contains more iron than beef! Kale is also filled with vitamin K, which is a proven aid in Alzheimer’s prevention and for cognition. If that isn’t enough food for thought, consider its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Along with kale, spinach ranks high on the popularity scale. From omelettes, to dips, to salads, to pasta dishes, it can be easily incorporated into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Alzheimer’s prevention doesn’t stop with kale as spinach contains folate, a vitamin (B9) that is also cognitively beneficial. It is low in sodium and high in potassium, which is the perfect cocktail for blood pressure maintenance. Cooked spinach helps to improve eyesight, and is a natural treatment for macular degeneration.
You can’t spell arugula without A – vitamin A, that is. Both vitamin A and C are prominent in arugula, making it an aid in vision and a defense against the common cold. It is also rich in potassium, which helps build muscle, boost the nervous system, and stabilize blood sugar. Arugula is not only packed with nutrients, but also flavour. Its peppery, and subtly spicy taste makes it a delicious asset in salads and beyond. Eating it raw enhances the benefits of chlorophyll, which helps the body cleanse the liver and improves digestion.
4. Bok Choy
Vitamin A is also present in bok choy, making it another tasty option for improving ocular health. Bok choy is the little green superhero you need during cold and flu season. It is recognized as an immune system booster as well as a perfect addition to any broth-based soup. It’s high levels of vitamin K will also help strengthen your bones.
5. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a vegetarian’s secret weapon as they are packed with vitamin B1, B6, iron, protein, fiber, and calcium. The vitamin B family helps the body convert carbohydrates to fuel, so collard greens are also a solid source of energy. Best served warm, these nutritious and beneficial leaves are a perfect addition to any veggie dish, soup, or sauce.
6. Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens and dandelion root are both powerful healers. The greens can be eaten raw or sautéed, and the roots are commonly ingested in the form of tea. Studies have shown that the medicinal benefits of dandelion root include cancer prevention and treatment, and liver protection. Dandelion greens purify blood, settle digestion, and provide many of the same health benefits that their more popular green cousins do by offering fiber, potassium, calcium, and iron.
7. Beet Greens
Beets have many recognized health benefits, but beet greens contain even more benefits than their juicy counterpart. High in glycine betaine, these greens are an aid in stroke and heart disease. They also offer aid for digestion, as beet greens are very high in fiber.