St. Patrick’s Day is this month, and what comes to mind when you think of this holiday? GREEN! So what better than to focus on green foods and their powerful health benefits.
Are you and your family eating enough greens? The USDA recommends consuming three cups of dark green, leafy vegetables per week, which should not be hard to achieve. You may not be aware of the wide variety of greens available or know how to prepare them. Greens are packed with nutrients and can fit into any meal.
The darker the color the more nutrients.
Types of Greens
Arugula Mustard greens
Greens contain many minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium as well as vitamins C, E, K and B. In addition, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fats can be found in greens. Who would have thought a little piece of “lettuce” could hold so much nutritional power? Green leafy herbs such as basil, parsley, cilantro and mint also contain many of the same nutrients
Greens are packed with vitamin K; a cup of most cooked greens provides at least nine times the minimum recommended intake of vitamin K. You can also meet your daily requirement of vitamin K with just a few cups of dark salad greens. Vitamin K is a very important nutrient, and most of us do not get enough of it. Vitamin K helps with:
• Regulating blood clotting
• Protecting bones
• Preventing arteriosclerosis (abnormal thickening and hardening of the arteries)
• Regulating inflammation; may help protect against arthritis (an inflammatory disease)
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin — it needs fat to help it function properly. Therefore, add salad dressing to your greens, or cook them using a little bit of oil to increase its effectiveness.
How To Store Greens
The proper way to store greens is slightly wet in an open or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Placing a damp paper towel in the bag can help. If stored properly, greens will probably keep for several days.
• If greens are stored wet and in a sealed container, they will rot faster
• If you store greens in a drawer in the refrigerator (without a bag), they will dry out and wilt.
How To Prepare Greens
If you haven’t been eating your greens because you look at them in the store and
don’t even know how you would begin to prepare them, here are some tips to help.
1. Prepare the greens by removing the stems.
2. Rinse the greens with cold water by completely submerging them in the water.
a. Greens to be used in salads should be dry
b. Greens that are going to be cooked can have some moisture on them; place them on a towel or cutting board after rinsing
3. Use one of the following cooking techniques to prepare the greens:
It does not take long to cook greens, so make sure to keep an eye on them while they are cooking. Use olive oil or canola oil when cooking, as these are healthy fats, and you only need a small amount. Try experimenting with different seasonings to spice them up a little.
Make three cups of greens a week your goal, but you may find you want even more than that now that you know all the healthful benefits they posess.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times