Greens-Five Unique Greens Profiles

Greens!  A true “superfood”, easy to incorporate, and better yet extremely affordable on any budget. Nutrient dense powerhouses that they are the contain loads of fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and essential omega 3’s.  I’ve highlighted a few below (sorry no Kale included) that will inspire creativity in your cooking and meal prepping daily.  Enjoy!
Dandelion Greens
Dandelion dates back to the 10th century a medicinal plant.  Uses include alleviating digestive upset, to skin issues, to treating viral infections.  All parts of the plant are edible
and today we most commonly use them to support liver function and health (most detox teas include this plant).  It has also been used to help fight acne, eczema, jaundice, and even Alzheimer’s disease.  Dandelion is high in vitamins A, B6, C, and K, thiamine, iron, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium phosphorous, folate, copper, phosphorous, and fiber.
They do taste bitter raw! I find blending them into smoothies, juices or cooking them down helps to make them more palatable.  Teas are also a fantastic option to incorporate the benefits into your diet.
Arugula
This peppery, leafy green is fast-growing (home garden perhaps?) and a strong contender in helping your body keep up in it’s defenses against disease.  It is quite similar to kale and mustard greens in it’s health benefits.  It’s phytochemical content helps to counter carcinogenic effects of estrogen and protect against colon, cervical, breast, prostate and ovarian cancers.It contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. Contains rich amounts of folate and vitamins A, B, C, and K.  Interestingly, it also contains compounds that act as immune modulators, called di-indolyl-methane (DIM)-a fat-soluble metabolite of indole.
Raw they are lightly crunchy and peppery.  Beautiful in salads, sandwiches, or blended in a juice (mind the pungent taste).
Mustard Greens
Yes! This is the plant that gives of the gift of mustard seeds.  Mustard Greens are also in the same family as Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli.  It is, however, under appreciated as a cruciferious vegetable perhaps due to it’s pungent flavoring.Like other spicy greens (arugula), it has the ability to bind to bile acids in the digestive tract, helping to remove unnecessary gunk thus lowering cholesterol.  Research supports incorporation of this green and other cruciferous vegetables aides in cancer prevention; particularly cancer affected especially by hormones including breast, ovarian, and prostate and also helps prevent bladder, colon, and lung cancers.They are also great for cardiovascular and heart health.  Mustard Greens contain phytonutients called glucosinolates that help with the activation of detoxifying enzymes.  Due to their high antioxidant levels, these greens help the body to lower oxidation stress on our cells and reduces overall inflammation. They are an excellent source of calcium, copper, manganese, fiber and vitamins A, C, K, E, B6, B1 and B2.
These tender leaves can be used in salads or juiced.  They also steam well with garli, spices, and other milder greens to mellow out its bitter taste.
Swiss Chard
Perhaps one of the healthiest vegetables on this list, Swiss Chard is a part of the chenopod family, which includes other mighty super foods such as; quinoa, spinach, and beets.  Like it’s other counterparts it is loaded with phytonutrients, it however, holds 13 different polyphenols, antioxidants, and the flavonoid syringe acid, known to regulate blood sugar (the association between beets and helping blood pressure runs true with its vegetable cousin). Chard is a great source of vitamins A, C, and E, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.  It can be helpful in pancreatic cell regeneration and supports good bone health due to the high levels of calcium and vitamin K.  Interestingly, it also contains a unique phytonutrient betaxanthin, which supports detoxification and is an excellent anti-inflammatory nutrient.
Incorporate these leaves in to salads, light massaged in coconut or olive oil and lemon or steam them alongside a main dish.  Their flavoring is succulent, bitter and slightly salty much like spinach.
Turnip Greens
High calcium super stars!  Turnip greens contain four times the amount of calcium than other cruciferous vegetables. They also contain strong anti-inflammatory, detoxification and cancer prevention properties, as well as high levels of antioxidants.  Again high in fiber like the others on this list (5 grams per cup), they hold vitamins A, C, K, manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper,and pantothenic acid.
They taste bitter due to the high calcium content, but it can be toned down by pairing it mellowing agents and other greens such as spinach. If you’re new to the flavor try experimenting in a soup or a stew first.
Happy munching!
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