Greens You Should Be Incorporating Into Your Diet
A key way to tell if you’re eating a balanced diet is to have a look at your plate. Is there lots of variety? Is it colourful? Green foods, especially dark leafy greens, pack a nutritional punch, and they add colour to your plate. Ready to mix it up from your usual salad? We’ve got you covered with these 10 Greens You Should Be Incorporating Into Your Diet.
While parsley might not be your regular go-to green, this leafy green is so much more than a garnish. Parsley is a very detoxifying food, binding to heavy metals and pulling them out of the body. It’s also high in iron and an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps make various proteins needed for blood clotting and bone building. While parsley is effective at pulling toxins out of the body, it also does this with the soil it’s grown in. For that reason, you always want to buy organic parsley to ensure it’s been grown in healthy soil.
Cilantro, it’s not for everyone’s taste buds, but like parsley, it also works as a detoxifying agent. It’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial. Cilantro is a powerhouse! Blend a bunch with olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt for a flavourful dressing on cooked vegetables or salad.
Broccoli is an excellent way to get your vitamin C, vitamin A, K and daily fibre. This vegetable is easily accessible and available all year-long. Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, contains some of the largest concentrations of health-promoting sulphur compounds, which increase the liver’s ability to neutralize potentially toxic substances. It’s also a rich source of folic acid, making it super heart-healthy. Broccoli is one of those vegetables that never goes out of style. Toss with olive oil and minced garlic and then roast in the oven, so good!
Kale has been one of the most popular superfoods, and for good reason. It’s relatively inexpensive, hearty, filling and can be easily grown in your own backyard. Kale promotes optimal health, protects against cancer, and its carotenoids act as sunglasses, filtering UV light, preventing eye damage. With so many varieties like curled leaf, red Russian, and lacinato (also known as dino kale), kale can be a staple on your grocery list.
Spinach is an excellent source of plant-based iron and is loaded with phytonutrients. This dark leafy green promotes energy and vitality, an antioxidant powerhouse. Nutrients in spinach help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which is good for the heart and protects the brain and eyes from oxidative stress and damage. Oxidative stress happens when there’s an imbalance of antioxidant activity in the body, reducing its capacity to fight off infection. Keep a tub of spinach in the freezer and add a handful, or two, to your morning smoothies.
Okay, we’re sneaking one supplement into this list because spirulina is the way to go when it comes to dark greens. This blue-green algae can be taken as a dietary supplement and most commonly comes in tablet or powder form. It has a very high protein and nutrient content and is a known endurance-booster to help get you through those tough workouts. Spirulina is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B1, calcium and a highly absorbable form of iron that is gentle on the digestive system. One of the easiest ways to incorporate spirulina into your diet is by adding a heaping teaspoon of the powder to your post-workout smoothie.
Arugula is a peppery-tasting green that will add flavour to any dish. It’s time to mix up your salad routine! Arugula contains a healthy dose of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate – the heart-friendly nutrients, and aids in lowering cholesterol and balancing blood sugar. Its water and fibre content can also help with digestion—spice up your usual salad mix by adding a handful of arugula and a drizzle of lemon juice.
8. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is highly concentrated in phytonutrients, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and provides powerful antioxidant protection. Calorie for calorie, swiss chard is one of the most nutritious vegetables around. It is an excellent source of dietary fibre. Fibre binds to cancer-causing chemicals, keeping them away from the cells lining the colon. The gut is like your second brain, and it’s so important to keep it healthy and functional properly.
9. Romaine Lettuce
While this long-time salad green may get a rap for being a bit boring, its impressive nutrient profile is often overlooked. It has a satisfying crunchy texture, is full of heart-healthy folic acid and is an excellent chromium source. This hard-to-find mineral is essential for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. To keep the lettuce crisp, chop it up and store it in your salad spinner with a bit of water.
Celery is another one of those foods that has been around forever, a staple on veggie platters, and has more recently gained attention for its juicing benefits. Celery has a high fibre content, diets high in fibre-rich foods have been associated with reduced levels of heart disease. It also contains nutrients that support the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Do it up old school and enjoy celery with peanut butter for a tasty and satisfying post-workout snack.
How to add these greens to your diet
If you’re sick of salads, especially on a cold winter’s day, greens can easily be incorporated into any meal. Add a handful of spinach, kale, parsley or chard to your morning smoothie. Mix with a banana and some coconut water, and besides the brilliant colour, you won’t even know the greens are in there. Add chopped greens into soups and stews, or saute with olive oil and garlic. Chop up some broccoli, spinach or chard and mix with eggs to make a fulfilling frittata. Diced parsley and cilantro can be sprinkled onto any meal to add colour, flavour and nutrient density. Your local Reflex Supplements also has plenty of choices for a greens powder supplement. We hope you enjoyed our tips on the greens you should be incorporating into your diet!
If you’re looking to add greens to help meet your fitness needs, visit us in store and have a chat with one of our experts. We can also be reached on Facebook and Instagram. Now it’s your turn to tell us, how do you incorporate greens into your diet? Be sure to tag us! We are #ReflexNation.