Dark green leafy vegetables are perhaps the most potent superfood on the planet. They are also the most ignored and avoided foods as well. If you consider the powerful dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that we get from spinach, kale, chard, collards, dandelion and other greens, it’s a wonder we can live without them.
Leafy Green Nutrition
Leafy green vegetables have more nutrition per calorie than any other food. Greens make up a significant source vitamins A, C, E and K as well as several B vitamins. They are rich sources of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. They are rich in fiber, extremely low in fat and carbohydrates and provide an excellent source of protein.
How Much Green Should You Eat?
The USDA food pyramid suggests a minimum of 3 servings of leafy greens per week. Most Americans fall short of this recommendation. Most health experts agree that the amount of leafy greens that we should consume is likely much higher than just 3 servings per week! I eat about 5-8 servings per day (that’s about two bunches or “heads”), mostly in green smoothies.(This is more like what we need to eat)
Drink Your Green Smoothies
Nobody likes to eat a big bowl of leafy greens. I eat a lot of greens each day, but I rarely eat salad. I get my greens from delicious fruit smoothies. I drink my spinach, kale, chard and dandelion greens while savoring the flavors of pineapple, mango, pear and even chocolate! That’s right, I eat about a pound of greens per day and all I taste is fruit and chocolate!
You can use just about any green leafy vegetable in a green smoothie. The most popular are:
- Spinach (preferably baby spinach)
- Swiss chard
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Turnip greens
- Beat greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Green and red leaf lettuce
Go online Read more about these leafy green superfoods.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
- Dark leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, and K.
- Teenage girls should aim to eat 3 cups of dark green vegetables a week or ½ cup everyday.
Why should I eat dark green leafy vegetables?
Dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of many vitamins (like vitamins A, C, and K and folate) and minerals (such as iron and calcium). They are also great sources of fiber. Research suggests that the nutrients found in dark green vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health. It is recommended that teenage girls eat 3 cups of dark green vegetables per week, or about ½ a cup every day.
Your body needs a little dietary fat to absorb some of the vitamins found in dark green vegetables. Add a bit of oil (such as olive or canola oil) or salad dressing to your dark green vegetables to make sure your body absorbs all of the vitamins you eat.
What are some examples of dark green leafy vegetables and the best way to eat them?
Arugula has a peppery taste and is rich in vitamins A, C, and calcium. Arugula can be eaten raw in salads or added to stir-fry, soups, and pasta sauces.
Broccoli has both soft florets and crunchy stalks, and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and fiber. Broccoli can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, or added to a casserole.
Collard Greens have a mild flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C and K, folate, fiber, and calcium. The best way to prepare them is to boil them briefly and then add to a soup or stir-fry. You can also eat collard greens as a side dish. Just add your favorite seasoning and enjoy!
Dandelion Greens have a bitter, tangy flavor and are rich in vitamin A and calcium. They are best when steamed or eaten raw in salad.
Kale has a slightly bitter, cabbage-like flavor and is rich in vitamins A, C and K. Kale is tasty when added to soups, stir-fries, and sauces.
Mustard Greens have a peppery or spicy flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and calcium. They are delicious when eaten raw in salads or in stir-fries and soups.
Romaine Lettuce is a nutrient-rich lettuce that is high is vitamins A, C, and K, and folate. It is best when eaten raw in salads, sandwiches or wraps.
Spinach has a sweet flavor and is rich in vitamins A and K, folate, and iron. Spinach tastes great eaten raw in salads or steamed.
Swiss Chard tastes similar to spinach and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, and iron. It is best stir-fried, added to sauces, or eaten raw in salads.
Quick and Easy Recipe Ideas:
Dark green vegetables are very tasty and easy to add to your daily meals. Look for them at your local grocery store and try some of these recipes!
- Make a salad: Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach and arugula taste great when mixed in a salad with different kinds of veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and lettuce.
- Wrap it up: Make a wrap with tuna, chicken, or turkey and add romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and other veggies for some extra flavor.
- Add to a soup:Try mixing leafy greens such as collard greens, kale or mustard greens into your favorite soup.
- Stir-fry: Add chopped leafy greens or broccoli to your stir-fry. Chicken or tofu stir-fried with olive or canola oil and your favorite dark green vegetable is delicious!
- Steam it: Try steaming collard greens, kale, or spinach. Add water to a pot and place a steamer with the vegetables into it. Next, bring the water to a simmer, cover with a lid, and wait a few minutes until your vegetables are slightly soft.
Top 10 Superfoods and Tonic Herbs
1. Cacao (Raw Chocolate) — The seed/nut of a fruit of an Amazonian tree, cacao is the highest antioxidant food on the planet, the #1 source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, manganese, and chromium and is also extremely high in PEA, theobromine (cardiovascular support), and anandamide ("bliss chemical"). Raw Chocolate improves cardiovascular health, builds strong bones, is a natural aphrodisiac, elevates your mood and energy, and increases longevity.
2. Goji Berries (Wolfberries) — Used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years, goji berries are regarded as a longevity
strength-building, and potency food of the highest order. This superfood
contains 18 kinds of amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids, up to 21 trace minerals, high amounts of antioxidants, iron, polysaccharides, B & E vitamins, and many other nutrients.
3. Maca — A staple in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years, this adaptogenic superfood increases energy, endurance, strength,
Dried maca powder contains more than 10% protein, nearly 20 amino acids,
including 7 essential amino acids. As a root crop, maca contains five times more protein than a potato and four times more fiber.
4. Hemp Products eaten in their RAW form — Hemp seeds are packed with 33%
pure digestible protein, and are rich in iron, amino acids, and vitamin E as well as omega-3's and GLA. Hemp is a perfect food for growing children and adults looking to increase protein intake.
5. Spirulina and AFA Blue-Green Algae — Spirulina is the world's highest source of complete protein (65%).
Spirulina provides a vast array of minerals, trace elements, phytonutrients, and enzymes. AFA Blue-green algae is a wild-grown superfood that is made up of 15% blue pigmented phycocyanin which, according to Christian Drapeau in his book Primordial Food, increases our internal production of stem cells.
Both Sprirulina and Blue-green Algae are vital superfoods.
6. Bee Products (honey, pollen, and propolis) — Bee pollen is the most
complete food found in nature containing nearly all B vitamins especially vitamin B-9 (folate) and all 21 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Honey, in its organic/wild, raw, unfiltered states is rich in minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes, and is one of the highest
vibration foods on the planet. If your metabolism can handle sweeteners, honey
is the best. Russian research indicates that honey is a longevity superfood.
7. Camu Berry — Highest Vitamin C source on planet. Great for rebuilding tissue, purifying blood, and enhancing immunity, and energy. Camu berry is one of the best anti-depressants, immune building, and eye-nourishing superfoods in the world.
8. Sea Vegetables (kelp, dulse, nori, hijiki, bladderwrack, chlorella,
etc) — Rich in life-giving nutrients drawn in from the ocean and sun, sea vegetables help remove heavy metals, detoxify the body of radioactive iodine, provide numerous trace minerals, regulate emmunity, and decrease the risk of cancer. Seaweeds benefit the entire body, and are especially excellent for the thyroid, immune system, adrenals, and hormone function.
9. Medicinal Mushrooms (Reishi, chaga, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake,
lion's mane, etc.) — High inp polysaccharides and super immune enhancing components, medicinal mushrooms are one of the most intelligent adaptogenic herb/superfoods on the planet! They have also been proven effective in healing cancer and a variety of other ailments.
10. Additional Powerful Superfoods and
Supplements — MSM, Digestive and Metabolic Enzymes, Mangosteen powder,
Marine Phytoplankton, Activated Liquid Zeolite, Ormus, MegaHydrate, Crystal
Energy, Krill Oil (not vegan, lowest on the food-chain, a source of long-chain
omega 3 fatty acids).