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It’s easy being green

September 30, 2009

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What comes to mind when you hear "leafy green vegetables?" Kale? Bok choy? Or, does iceberg lettuce count? Any which way you cut it, leafy greens are lacking in the American diet. Sure, they can be a bit intimidating at first, but once you learn how to prepare and cook them, you’ll find it easier to incorporate them into your daily meals.

Greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K. They’re great sources of fiber and filled with folic acid, chlorophyll and other nutrients to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Looking to boost your immunity for cold and flu season? Greens strengthen our circulatory and respiratory system. You can improve your body’s resistance naturally by piling your plate with greens.

The next time you’re in your local farmer’s market or the produce section of your grocery store, pick out a new green for the week. Mix spinach or arugula into salads, toss some collards or cabbage into soups, steam kale or broccoli for a tasty side-dish and add bok choy to your favorite stir-fry.

Here are some tips for making your green veggies more exciting and flavorful.

  • After cooking, add 1 tablespoon olive oil or toasted sesame oil to every 2 cups of veggies

  • Add 2 bay leaves or 1 teaspoon cumin seeds to the cooking water

  • Sprinkle cooked veggies with toasted pumpkin, sesame, flax or sunflower seeds

  • Sprinkled greens with fresh herbs: mint, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro or scallion

  • Use tamari soy sauce or umeboshi vinegar to add extra flavor

  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over steamed veggies

  • Stir-fry veggies with a pinch of sea salt, olive oil and garlic

What green will you try this week? Need help getting started? Check out this week’s recipe on Facebook.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.