Ok, I’m not really talking about leprechauns here. For gosh sakes, I’m Italian, what do you expect? But it is that time of year, fellow baby boomers and older adults!
And in my mind, these little green guys aren’t leaping because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, they’re bounding about because they’re so healthy! In that vein, here is my list of the most nutritious “green” foods you can include in your everyday diet.
1) Leafie greens
You’ve been living at the end of the rainbow with your head buried in that pot of gold if you haven’t heard about the virtues of these edible super heroes: spinach, kale, swiss chard, arugula, boy chow, and others. These babies are packed with phytochemicals (antioxidants and anti-inflammatories), fiber, minerals (calcium, magnesium, manganese), and vitamins (A, K, D, C, and Bs). Add them to a plethora of dishes on a daily basis for super health.
2) Green tea
Green tea is less processed than many of its cousins, accounting for its higher level of phytochemicals. Specifically, these natural chemicals—polyphenols—provide this product’s anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. And recent studies have shown green tea can potentially have positive effects on everything from weight loss to type 2 diabetes, liver disorders, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. (Disclaimer: Try as I may, this dietitian has not developed a taste for green tea.)
3) Herbs (dill, parsley, basil, chives, oregano, sage, etc.)
Fresh or dried, herbs add their characteristic zip to many of the foods we enjoy. And they’ve been used for thousands of years to add flavor to meals, and as a medicine and preservative. Similar to green tea, research has linked specific herbs’ anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties to the prevention and management of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Be bold with herbs; add them to breads, butters, mustards, marinades, vinegars, and even desserts.
4) Green fats
I’m talking avocados here, so don’t get grossed out! These fabulous fruits contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and potassium, fiber, and life-supporting antioxidants. If you’re watching calories, 1/5 of an avocado has about 64 calories (the same as most servings of fruit). In your food, avocados keep smoothies smooth, provide a nutritious alternative sandwich spread, and look beautiful in salads. Added bonus: On your face, they’re a fabulous mask!
5) My famous green apple pie smoothie
I love experimenting with smoothies, and here’s a fun green version for this month:
- Plant-based milk, 1 cup
- Granny Smith apple, 1, rinsed, cored, and cubed
- Spinach, 1/2 cup, fresh, rinsed
- Avocado, 1/4
- Vanilla plant-based protein/smoothie mix, 1 packet
- Cinnamon, ground, 1/4 tsp.
- Nutmeg, ground, a pinch
Place all ingredients in a blender, mix, and enjoy!
For more ways to “green up” your diet, please reach out to me!