St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner… and what better way to celebrate than with a day full of green food? Green foods – especially vegetables – are alkalizing, meaning they help to regulate your PH levels after consuming acid-forming foods like meat and carbohydrates. Green foods are also chock full of nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C, K, E and B. Dark, leafy greens even contain essential omega-3 fatty acids – which can lower bad cholesterol and protect against heart disease!
Eating green-colored fruits and veggies is a great way to get vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting plant compounds called phytochemicals. Green foods get their color from chlorophyll, a green pigment found in the leaves of plants which helps the blood deliver oxygen to your cells (it’s also a natural deodorizer!). To reap the full benefits of chlorophyll, it’s best to eat them raw or very lightly cooked; but any way you eat ‘em, these green foods can’t be beat!
Kale is one of the most powerful super foods available. It’s a great source of vitamins and minerals, plus it’s low-calorie, low in fat and low in cholesterol. It’s also full of antioxidants, protein, fiber and essential omega-3s. Kale is also a versatile food that can be prepared raw, steamed or baked.
Available in both rainbow and regular varieties, swiss chard is one of the most beautiful greens you can buy. With a beet-like flavor and a soft texture, chard is excellent when sautéed or used in an omelet. Swiss chard contains only 15 calories in ½ cup, and is a great source of vitamins A and C.
Limes are packed with antioxidants, including flavonol glycosides shown to help fight cancer and prevent the hardening of your arteries. More acidic and tart than lemons, the complex flavors of a simple lime are a great addition to soups, salads, slaws, and more.
Asparagus is high in fiber, folic acid, and iron; it also contains inulin, a prebiotic which supports the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Asparagus is a non-starchy vegetable, so it has a low glycemic impact; eat asparagus for a wholesome, low-carb way to fill your body with nutrients. This green veggie is chock full of vitamin C and beta-carotene!
These tiny little cabbages are not only trendy—they’re delicious! Try roasting or frying Brussels sprouts for the perfect side dish. This cruciferous vegetable is a great source of cancer-fighting compounds and vitamin C. Unlike most vegetables, Brussels sprouts are high in protein, making them a particularly great choice for vegetarians and vegans.
Who doesn’t love avocado? Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style with this magical green fruit. Packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados are a great source of vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, and other antioxidants. Keep calories in check by limiting your serving size to about one-quarter of a whole fruit.
With only 25 calories per serving, you can’t beat broccoli. Rich in vitamins C and A, broccoli is a great way to add a healthy crunch to salads and stir-fries. Eat broccoli for an added boost of potassium and folate!
Celery, peas, pears, spinach… what are some of your favorite green foods?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!