Despite, its limited nutritional value, <a href=http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1576/>iceberg lettuce remains the highest consumed leafy green vegetable in America with the average person consuming 17 pounds per year. Mostly water, iceberg lettuce is a good starter green, but there are several more leafy green options to incorporate into your diet. The next time youre at the grocery store, try some of the options below and look for darker leaves in the produce section. The darker color is an indication of higher levels of chlorophyll, which contain many beneficial properties that include controlling hunger and food cravings.
Often tossed aside and thrown away when preparing beets, beet greens can be enjoyed in salads, soups, or sauted in olive oil, and seasoned with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Theyre packed with antioxidants, and Vitamin A and K that help prevent blood-clotting, boost bone strength and enhance the immune system. Beet greens have twice the iron content of spinach and more nutritional value than the beet itself.
High in Vitamin A, K, and blood-pressure lowering nitrates, chard is similar to its more popular counterpart kale. In addition to its many nutrients and vitamins, chard also contains the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid thats been known lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress changes in patients with diabetes. Sautee in olive oil with onions and garlic.
More bitter than most other greens, chicory will bring an extra crunch or more color to your salad of romaine or spinach. Chicory greens are high in polyphenols, a group of micro nutrients with antioxidant properties. Increasing your intake of chicory will help protect against diseases like cancer and heart disease as well as promoting brain and skin health.
A favorite of Southern cuisine, collard greens have traditionally been slow cooked with pork. While tasty, steaming collards is a healthier preparation method and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease.
For those who have a heavy hand when it comes to seasoning their food, incorporating fresh herbs like parsley will deliver more flavor and nutritional value to your meal without adding extra salt. Myricetin, a flavonoid found in parsley, has been shown to help prevent diabetes and skin cancer. Add fresh parsley leaves to your favorite pasta dish, salad or omelette.
Growing in popularity, romaine is slightly darker than iceberg lettuce, and provides an excellent alternative for salad greens as well as toppings for everything from burgers to tacos and sandwiches. Ready for a tasty experiment? Grill a head of romaine and top with a simple dressing of oil, vinegar, worcestershire, and blue cheese.
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