Of all the foods you could add to your life, this is the one that promises to make the biggest difference. Dark leafy greens are one of Nature’s most nutritious foods, and here’s why:
Minerals: iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium. Strong bones, healthy blood.
Vitamins: K, C, E, and several B vitamins. One cup of cooked greens provides NINE TIMES the minimum recommended serving of Vitamin K (although we’re reevaluating the minimum). Vitamin K regulates blood clotting, reduces calcium in arterial plaques (good news for the ticker), and it may also have anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin K is fat soluble, so make sure to dress your greens in olive oil, coconut oil, or butter (we’ll talk about fat another time).
Fiber: pretty much the entire plant is made of fiber. In addition to healthy digestion, fiber also helps us feel more satisfied for longer.
Chlorophyll: that stuff that makes plants green is surprisingly healthy for humans. Chlorophyll helps the blood carry oxygen to all cells and tissues, assists the body in delivering magnesium and other minerals to the cells, AND it helps reduce bad breath, bad moods, and body odor. Who wouldn’t want that?
So what exactly counts as a dark, leafy green? Spinach, kale (all varieties), Collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, Bok choy, broccoli, and fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro and basil. You can find a lot of pre-washed, packaged micro (baby) greens in most supermarkets now. The darker the better.
You can eat your greens raw, sauteed, steamed or flash-boiled. My favorite way to prepare them is with lots of garlic and fresh olive oil:
1 bunch greens of choice (I prefer Lacinato Kale)
1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on size and how much you like garlic
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over low heat. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and roughly chop. Add to the oil and let sit for at least five minutes. You can prep the greens in the meantime.
Rinse greens and chop off the woody ends of the stalk. If you want, you can remove the spine by folding each leaf in half lengthwise and cutting out the spine. To chop greens: stack leaves on top of one another. Roll the whole stack up like a cigar, and slice into strips. You can then cut the strips into smaller pieces if you want, but it’s not necessary.
Add greens to the garlic oil, turn heat up to medium, and cover for about five minutes, tossing frequently. When the greens are bright green but wilted, they’re done. Some people prefer them cooked a little longer, which is fine. The less time you cook them, the more nutrition will be retained.
Add salt and pepper just before serving.
Remember, the best way to serve greens is whatever way will get them down your throat. Be creative!
For more recipes featuring greens, check these out:
Roasted salmon with garlicky greens (same as the recipe above but included in a lovely Sunday dinner)
For personalized suggestions and information, contact Sam.