In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re giving props to leafy greens. You don’t have to be Popeye to eat your spinach. Watercress, kale, collards, turnip greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, broccoli, leaf lettuces, and cabbage—these super foods are something everyone should regularly incorporate into their diets to stay healthy and trim. According to an article in Men’s Fitness, people who ate watercress before high intensity exercise had less DNA damage from free radicals than those who did not. Read more on this study at http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/watercress-benefits.
Because leafy vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they are often recommended for prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These properties are most concentrated when the plant is first cut—so to pack the most punch, look for fresh, local sources at area markets. Leafy greens grow well most of the year, even in Indiana’s winter, thanks to greenhouses and other innovations. Also try sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) or other fermented greens during the off-season for additional probiotic benefits. LOCAL TIP: look for Fermenti Artisan, a local producer of authentic fermented krauts, at the Indianapolis City Market and other local heath food stores.
Leafy greens can be prepared in many ways: munched raw in a salad, blended into a smoothie, sautéed with onions and garlic, or even grilled. Check out this article to find more cooking tips and nutritional facts about leafy greens from WebMD.com: http://www.webmd.com/diet/leafy-greens-rated