Dark green leafy vegetables are among the most nutritious foods. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which have strong beneficial effects on our health. They boost the immune system, are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and aid in cellular repair. For example, the large amounts of phytonutrients beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin present in these vegetables provide important protection from age related eye damage.
Chlorophyll, which gives the plants their green color, is a potent health promoter: It is a detoxifier that helps to rid the body of pollution, heavy metals, and protects against certain types of cancer. A word of caution: Individuals taking blood-thinning drugs (Warfarin, Coumadin etc.) are advised to avoid foods high in vitamin K, including greens.
Salad greens (Romaine lettuce, parsley, arugula, dandelion, spinach, and watercress), can be eaten raw. Poor parsley, the underappreciated overachiever! Friends, parsley is not just for garnishing! Fast cooking greens, (spinach, beet greens, escarole, rappini, and mustard greens) can be eaten raw or briefly cooked. Because the leaves of fast cooking greens are thinner and drastically shrink even during brief cooking, the amount prepared in their raw state should be three times larger than the desired cooked amount. Hearty greens (kale, chard, and collard greens) require a bit longer cooking time, particularly their stems. Adding olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, spices and/or smoked turkey boosts nutrition and the yum factor. Kermit, it IS easy being green: Go green!
Greens with Onion
1 big bunch of cooking greens (kale, mustard greens etc.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon cumin powder
2-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
In a skillet heat the oil and cook the onion (covered) for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash, trim tough stems, and shred the greens. Steam them for 10 minutes and drain. Briefly rinse with cold water and shake the excess water off them. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin to the onion. Cook 4 minutes. Gently mix in greens and cook 2 more minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from stove, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
“Mission Nutrition” Tips and Recipes from Judy E. Buss, Health Columnist, Nutritional Cooking Instructor.
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