Spring is an excellent time to eat leafy greens such as arugula, spinach, kale, collards and dandelion greens. This is the season where leafy green are in abundance and when eaten their nutrients can help neutralize toxins and remove them from the body. Spring cleansing anyone?
Leafy greens have so many benefits. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and quercetin.
Collards, kale and dandelion greens, are particularly rich in calcium, which helps keep your teeth and bones strong and reduces your overall risk for osteoporosis. Calcium also contributes to muscle function and blood-pressure management. Leafy greens contain the mineral potassium, which further protects against osteoporosis and helps manage blood pressure.
Leafy greens are also a good source of magnesium, one of my favorite minerals. Magnesium is an essential mineral, which supports the function of every organ in the body. Some of the benefits of magnesium are; it helps regulate the hormone melatonin which promotes sleep, relaxes the nervous system, relives constipation and helps alkalize the body.
Greens are rich in vitamin C, which helps the body make collagen; collagen is a major component of cartilage that aids in joint flexibility, and helps keep your skin and hair healthy.
As if all of the above benefits aren’t enough, leafy greens are also an excellent source of folate, which can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and memory loss. Folate also contributes to the production of serotonin, which helps improve mood.
These vegetables are rich in vitamin K, which is essential to building strong bones and preventing heart disease. It also plays a key role in blood clotting if you’re taking a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin), be sure to have your doctor monitor your blood and your medication dosage as you increase your intake of dark leafy green vegetables.
Leafy greens are an excellent source of folate, which can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and memory loss. Folate also contributes to the production of serotonin, which helps improve mood.
Phytonutrients such as, lutein, and zeaxanthin that are contained in leafy greens have been shown to help reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Quercertin another phytonutrient found in leafy greens has anti-inflammatory properties.
With all these nourishing benefits of greens I suggest you eat 2-3 servings a day. You can add them your smoothie(one of my favorite ways to consume greens), add them to a stir-fry, eat them in a salad, or eat them alone. Below is a delicious recipe for you to try.
Spring Time Medley of Greens
1 cup of chopped dandelion greens
1 cup of chopped Kale
1 cup of chopped collards
1/2 red pepper sliced
1 clove of minced garlic (optional)
1 Tbs of coconut oil
Sea Salt to taste
Crushed red pepper (optional)
Place coconut oil, garlic and greens in a wok. Cook on medium/high heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add sliced red pepper and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and add sea salt and crushed red pepper to taste. You can eat this as a side, with your favorite main dish or on it’s own. Enjoy!