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In order to take in the broadest spectrum of essential nutrients, it’s important to eat as many colors of fruits and vegetables as possible. Green foods are especially beneficial in providing antioxidants and health-promoting phytochemicals such as lutein, which are believed by researchers to protect cells from and slow the rate of cancer.

An assortment of green foods including broccoli, avocados, peas, cucumber, and more.

Besides providing phytochemicals, here are some other benefits of adding green fruits and veggies to your diet:

  • Low in calories
  • Contribute to mental sharpness
  • Help maintain a healthy weight
  • Help maintain vision health, strong bones, and teeth
  • Contain fiber
  • Great source of folate
  • Good source of Vitamin C
  • Contain potassium, which can lower blood pressure

Lovely Leafy Greens – The Powerhouse of the Vegetable World!

If you’re going to add just one green food to your diet, make it leafy greens. As a general rule, the darker the green, the better. For example, spinach provides more of a nutritional benefit than iceberg lettuce. You can also try kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory, and Swiss chard!

Here are some other fun facts about leafy greens:

  • They have the highest concentration of antioxidants and fiber
  • They’re a great source of iron and Vitamins A and K
  • Kale contains mind-boggling amounts of lutein and Vitamins K, C, and A
  • Turnip greens and mustard greens have the highest amount of folate
  • If the flavor of a green is too strong or bitter for you, try quickly blanching it in boiling, salted water before preparing it for other dishes

How to Eat Your Green Foods

Many people think of greens as just salad, and are turned off by the idea. However, there are many other delicious ways to prepare them such as grilling or sauteeing them in olive oil, or using them in omelets, soups, wraps, sandwiches, and casseroles.

Some other new ideas to add more greens to your diet include:

  • Use romaine, red leaf lettuce, and spinach in salads instead of iceberg
  • Add chopped cabbage to soups
  • Layer fresh spinach into your sandwiches
  • Add chopped arugula or spinach to pasta sauce
  • As a side dish, saute Swiss chard or kale with garlic, then add balsamic vinegar
  • Eat a side of coleslaw with your sandwich instead of potato chips
  • Use arugula, mesclun green, and watercress in salads and sandwiches
  • Include bok choy in a stir fry or saute as a side dish
  • Serve broccoli roasted or tossed with pasta
  • Saute collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, or turnip greens as a side dish or use in soups
  • Try slicing cabbage into “steaks” and roasting it
  • Include some kiwi fruit in your fruit salad
  • Throw some frozen peas into a soup
  • Add avocado slices to salads and sandwiches
  • Add spinach and broccoli to your pizza