Recently I purchased organic greens called Power Greens consistingof Baby Chard, Kale and Spinach. Here is an excerpt from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture website (ars.usda.gov) that will explain in more detail the importance of leafy greens, taken directly from the website:
Dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of nutrition. Salad greens, kale and spinach are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, and broccoli, bok choy and mustard are also rich in many of the B-vitamins. These vegetables also contain an abundance of carotenoids-antioxidants that protect cells and play roles in blocking the early stages of cancer. They also contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol.
The dark greens supply a significant amount of folate, a B vitamin that promotes heart health and helps prevent certain birth defects. Folate is also necessary for DNA duplication and repair which protects against the development of cancer. Several large studies have shown that high intakes of folate may lower the risk of colon polyps by 30 to 40 percent compared to low intakes of this vitamin. Other research suggests that diets low in folate may increase the risk of cancers of the breast, cervix and lung.
The vitamin K contents of dark green leafy vegetables provide a number of health benefits including: protecting bones from osteoporosis and helping to prevent against inflammatory diseases.
Because of their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods. Studies have shown that eating 2 to 3 servings of green leafy vegetables per week may lower the risk of stomach, breast and skin cancer. These same antioxidants have also been proven to decrease the risk of heart disease.
Perhaps one of the most appealing benefits of dark green leafy vegetables is their low calorie and carbohydrate contents and their low glycemic index. These features make them an ideal food to facilitate achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. Adding more green vegetables to a balanced diet increases the intake of dietary fiber which, in turn, regulates the digestive system and aids in bowel health and weight management. These properties are particularly advantageous for those with type-2 diabetes.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends increasing average intakes of fruits and vegetables, particularly those that provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber. Dark leafy greens fulfill this need. Many varieties of greens are available in the American markets-the most popular are collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, spinach and kale.
Note: I was going to delete some of this to make it shorter, but the info is too good to do that! If you click on the link above there is more information on the background of leafy greens and ways to use them. My salad recipe below is only one way I use them,since they are hardy enough to steam, stir-fry or use in soups & stews.
Winter Leafy Green Salad
Utensils: Cutting board & knife, strainer or colander, small bowl, serving bowl w/serving tongs
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Categories: Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free
Ingredients (see Dressing below first)
2 cups (organic) Power Greens or any mixed dark greens you choose
1 carrot grated or sliced
1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
2 radishes, sliced thinly
5-6 slivers of onion and/or fennel bulb
1 cauliflowerette for center
Dressing: Mix together in a small bowl and set aside
1 garlic clove, minced
1 slice of ginger, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste (opt.)
- Wash, drain and dry greens. Place in large serving bowl.
- Add all the veggies prepared as above, except sprouts & cauliflowerette.
- Add prepared dressing and toss gently.
- Place cauliflowerette in center and sprouts around the cauliflower.
- Serve immediately. If not serving immediately, place salad and in ‘fridge without adding the dressing. Toss when ready to serve.
Variations: If not vegan, feel free to add feta cheese as well as other veggies in season.