By: Gloria Tsang, RD
Last Updated on:
Are you planning on drinking green beer at your local pub this St Patrick’s Day? Why not try something a little different this year – like a healthier way to incorporate green into your diet?
You know the health benefits of eating more greens. But what can you do when you are tired of eating cabbage everyday?
Eat Super Greens for St. Patrick’s Day
Calorie for calorie, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin B6. Amazingly, researchers have already identified at least 13 different kinds of health-promoting flavonoid compounds in spinach.
Want more reasons to pick up a bunch for dinner tonight? Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that can help to lower high blood pressure and protect against heart disease. Personally, I love eating spinach cooked and baby spinach raw.
Kiwi often gives a fruit salad an exotic flare. But did you know that this flavorful fruit has more antioxidant Vitamin C than an orange, and more heart-healthy potassium than a banana? Studies have shown that fully-ripened fruits contain the most antioxidants, so it pays to wait until your kiwis totally ripe. Simply eat peeled kiwi as is, or add sliced pieces to your fruit salad.
Avocado is notorious for being high in fat. But the fat contained in avocado is the good kind of fat – monounsaturated fat (MUFA)- which helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Plus, it’s full of heart-healthy potassium. Take advantage of its creamy texture and use it as spread. Or, try garnishing soup with chopped avocado, or just toss sliced pieces into any salad.
Bok choy is packed with Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and phytonutrients. Plus, it’s very filling, high in fiber, and low in calories. I love how bok choy still remains crunchy after cooked. My favorite is to stir fry it with meat in Chinese sauces like black bean sauce or hoisin sauce. But it is absolutely fine to eat bok choy raw as well. Similar to spinach, raw baby bok choy works well in salad, so go ahead and toss it into your salad and reap the nutritional benefits!
No super green–food list is complete without green tea! Green tea contains high levels of antioxidant polyphenols – it even ranks higher than some fruits and vegetables on the ORAC score rank (a score which measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods). Compared to red and black tea, green tea is the least processed.
Studies have demonstrated that green tea may protect against developing cancer and heart diseases. And best of all, brewed green tea contains 0 calories; make it a guilt-free indulgence! To reap the most health benefits, brew your green tea for at least 3 to 5 minutes to bring out the beneficial polyphenols.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.