Dark green leafy veggies are nutritional powerhouses, making them one of the most beneficial foods you can eat. They are filled with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help to alkalize the body. Dark leafy greens also contain chlorophyll which is key in regulating pH levels, as well as fiber which cleans out your digestive system!
The USDA recommends eating one-half cup of green leafy vegetables each day to prevent nutrient deficiencies and serious illnesses. There are many varieties of edible greens, which are most nutritious when eaten raw or lightly steamed.
Locally grown leafy greens
When it comes to leafy greens, they can generally be found from June to October. Some are available year-round like greenhouse lettuce.Buying local food is a great way to support your community and fill your pantry with fresh, high quality, affordable food.
Dark green lettuces – romaine, green leaf, arugula and butterhead. All of these nutrient-dense leaves are crisp and slightly bitter and some people like to add them to their salad!
Dark lettuces are rich in essential vitamins; eating them regularly can improve your eyesight, bone health, and skin elasticity. It will also help with blood clotting. Combining them with vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, carrots, and cucumbers can help you get the nutrients you need while sticking to your diet.
2. Cruciferous Leafy Greens
Kale, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage and broccoli all come under cruciferous leafy greens. They are full of vitamins and nutrients – particularly glucosinolates which inhibit certain cancer growth.
Magnesium and tryptophan are also found in these greens; they contribute to overall heart health as well as cognitive function. Cooking these vegetables separately or together can add flavor to your dishes. You can also add them to soup or casseroles or sauté them with your favorite foods.
3. Spinach and Swiss Chard
Swiss chard and spinach have a similar taste and nutritional value to other leaves in the Amaranthaceae family, boasting vibrant colors.
Spinach and chard are available year-round. They’re healthy to eat, because they contain iron that helps supply oxygen to the body. Add spinach or chard to your raw salads or steam lightly and season them for a delicious side dish.
4. Edible Green Leaves
Dandelion, red clover, plantain, watercress and chickweed are edible leaves that can be found in some supermarkets. You may also have some growing free in your yard and in your neighborhood.
Many people are unaware that even in their lawn, weeds can be an asset rather than an annoyance. Dandelion greens promote a healthy liver and plantain and watercress help keep skin cells healthy. Red clover regulates hormones and chickweed has calming effects on the body. These greens can be added to raw salads, stir-fries or soups for a healing effect.
Tips to Increase Your Dark Leafy Greens Intake
There are many varieties of both dark green and leafy dark green vegetables to choose from. To increase the type of food you’re having, try experimenting and eating different types as well as different preparation methods.
Consider the following ways to add leafy greens to your diet:
Egg scrambles: If you’re looking to incorporate more greens into your diet, one easy way to do so is by adding them to eggs in the morning. Try a spinach bacon omelet or a breakfast scramble.
Sandwiches or wraps: Choose from a variety of veggies to bulk up your sandwiches like spinach or romaine lettuce. Or replace bread in sandwiches or wraps with other healthy green leafy vegetables like cucumbers, bok choy, coleslaw mix etc.
Smoothies: Add frozen greens like kale, spinach, or beet greens to your green smoothie along with fruits of your interest like banana and apple. If you don’t like veggies, this is a great introduction to increasing your intake because you are not likely to taste them in the mix.
Don’t throw away the tops of your vegetables!
Did you know that by using the tops of carrots, radishes, beets and other root vegetables you can not only reduce food waste but also get the health benefits of dark green vegetables? If you have some odd bits left over from your shopping trip to the grocery store for example, just cut them up and use them in soups or chop them into salads.
Hi, I’m Rana and I blog at ranasrecipe.com. My passion for food began very early in my life. And after managing a cafe, a granola business and helping other food businesses scale up, I found my true calling in creating wonderful recipes so that everyone can enjoy cooking as much as I do! Don’t forget to follow me on my social channels- instagram and pinterest.