If vegetables are the scarcest food in the American diet, leafy green vegetables are lacking most of all. Learning to cook and eat greens are essential for creating long lasting health. Greens help build our internal rainforest and strengthen our circulatory and respiratory systems. The color green is associated with spring, a time for renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity.
Nutritionally, greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.
Some of the benefits gained from eating dark leafy greens are:
~subtle, light and flexible energy
~lifted spirit elimination of depression
~promotion of healthy intestinal flora
~improved liver gallbladder and kidney function
~clearing of congestion, especially in the lungs and reduction of mucus.
You can choose from a variety of greens. Try to be adventurous and rotate them around. Add to your list of vegetables: bok choy, napa cabbage, collards, kale, watercress, mustard greens, dandelion and other leafy greens. Arugula, endive, chicory, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw.
Spinach, swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which depletes calcium from your bones and teeth. Choose these vegetables with something rich like tofu, seeds, nuts, butter, animal products or oil to balance the impact of the oxalic acid.
Get into the habit of adding greens to your diet as often as possible. Nourishing yourself with greens will generally crowd out foods that make you sick. Try adding them regularly to your diet and make note of how you feel.
As you can see, eating greens may not have always been easy, but they are necessary for good health!
Here are some tips on how to cook greens:
Try a variety of prep methods like steaming, boiling, sauteing in coconut oil or ghee, water sauteing, waterless cooking of chopped in salads. Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. You can boil for under a minute or so that the nutrients in the greens don't get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea, if you are using organic greens. Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight. Raw salad is also a wonderful food. Its refreshing, cooling and soft, and supplies your body with live enzymes.
Taken from "Integrative Nutrition" written by Joshua Rosenthal