Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Green Facts

Today we are hearing more and more about being GREEN.  We are asked to consider making our carbon footprint less by walking, biking, taking mass transit or purchasing vehicles which are GREEN. We are suppose to bring our own bags to the grocery store and not use plastic ones, to keep our earth more GREEN.

I'd like to expand upon eating GREEN, dark leafy greens, that is. Why? Because they are a great source of nutrients our bodies desperately need. There are 3 basic groups of leafy greens.

Salad greens - these are normally eaten raw. The darker the color, the more nutrients in them. When using salad dressings, choose one that is high in Omega 3's - like an olive oil base, or make your own. Put dressing ingredients directly onto the greens and toss. Start with a vinaigrette, (rice vinegar, balsamic, or lemon juice), add a little olive oil and fresh herbs, a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Quick cooking greens - these greens can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Spinach is a familiar vegetable in this group, but others include multiple varieties of chard, beet greens, and members of the broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower family. Some of these greens shrink drastically when cooked. 6 cups of fresh spinach become 1 cup cooked. This can pack a lot of nutrients into your body very quickly!

Hearty greens - like kale and collard greens require more cooking time, mainly because they are more fibrous. These greens are not eaten raw because of their toughness. However by cutting the stems from the leaves, you can reduce cooking time by more than half.

The nutritional value of greens is HUGE. They are flavorful and contain a high percentage of Vitamin A, C, E and K, Calcium, Iron, Folate, Omega 3 fatty acids, anti-carcinogens, and are super high in protein per calorie.  These nutrients assist with mental functions, help to prevent osteoporosis, macticular degeneration, premature aging and cancer, as well as they help to flush out toxins in the digestive system and reduce the risks of coronary heart disease.  If you want to feel good and put a lot of nutrients in your body ~ choose GREENS!

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