Superfood Monday: Why Dark Leafy Greens Should Be On Your Plate

This tip is courtesy of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging: Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. For more nutrition and health guidance, start your 14-day free trial now!

Want to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins (including C, the provitamin beta-carotene and folic acid) and add calcium and magnesium to your diet? Then reach for the greens! Produce-stand staples such as kale, collards, beet greens and bok choy are tasty, inexpensive sources of vital nutrients. In addition to containing antioxidants and fiber, they help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and protect the immune system.

Look for organic varieties of these three greens at your local grocer or natural foods store:

  1. Kale. Try it sautéed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil with garlic, or try my Tuscan Kale Salad.
  2. Collards. With a taste similar to that of kale and cabbage, this traditional vegetable from the South makes a wonderful side dish. For the best texture, consider sautéing in olive oil, then covering with water, bringing to a boil and briefly simmering.
  3. Spinach. Spinach ranges in taste from mild to bitter, baby spinach being the least bitter. It can be used raw (be sure to wash raw spinach in cold water before using) as the base of a salad, or steamed or sautéed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Keep in mind that fresh spinach reduces to about half its size when cooked.

If leafy greens aren’t your thing, try increasing the amount of broccoli in your diet – this cruciferous vegetable provides abundant nutrients and has cancer-preventing properties.

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