Beaufort Memorial’s Living Well Blog brings health and wellness to Lowcountry living.

The Wonderful World of Greens

Posted by Living Well Team on Jan 6, 2016 5:29:17 PM

What if you could fill your plate to overflowing –even go back for seconds—and be healthier? Well, you can! Grab the nearest green vegetable and start noshing. Vegetables are good for you, no matter what color they are, but green vegetables in particular are good sources of vitamins A, C and K, as well as of potassium.

“Eating greens is an excellent way to get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs without having to take supplements,” says Roxanne Davis-Cote, clinical nutrition manager at Beaufort Memorial. “The body creates some vitamins and minerals by itself, but there are essential vitamins and minerals that we need to eat in order for our bodies to work appropriately.”

Here’s a list of Roxanne’s favorite green vegetables, what they taste like and how to prepare them. Nosh on!

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Kale

Why it’s good for you:

Kale is the king of superfoods. One serving will give you all the vitamins A and K you need for the day. In fact, one serving of raw kale gives you 525 percent of your daily dose of vitamin K, which is great for bone health. It’s also a good source of calcium, folic acid and potassium.

What it tastes like:

Expect it to be deep, earthy and slightly bitter, although the smaller leaves can be milder.

How to eat it:

Remove ribs and use it in place of your usual go-to leafy green (such as romaine or spinach). Put it in salads, on burgers or in an omelet. Feeling adventurous? Roast the leaves to make kale chips.

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Brussels Sprouts

Why they’re good for you:

The long-maligned martyr of the produce aisle, Brussels sprouts offer all the benefits a good cruciferous veggie should: antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid and more.

What they taste like:

Think of them as mini cabbages. They get a bad rap, but when prepared correctly, they can be quite delicious.

How to eat them:

If you think you know Brussels sprouts, think again. Drizzle them with olive oil and rice vinegar, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. You’ll discover a whole new delicious side of these small green globes.

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Swiss Chard

Why it’s good for you:

Swiss chard gives you a lot of bang for your calorie buck—just 15 calories in two cups. Plus, it provides a boost of fiber, magnesium and vitamins A and K. Like all greens, it is a heart-healthy addition to your diet.

What it tastes like:

Do you like beets? Then you’ll like Swiss chard. Darker greens like Swiss chard have a stronger taste profile than iceberg or romaine.

How to eat it:

After sautéing it, add apples or dried cherries for a sweet and sour mixture. And, as with other leafy greens, you can add it to salads or sandwiches, or even mix it into a smoothie or a soup.

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Collards

 Why they’re good for you:

A staple in Southern cooking, collards offer vitamins and nutrients similar to those in kale, making them good for your bones (calcium) and your skin and eyes (vitamin A).

What they taste like: Think about biting into a strong cabbage leaf.

How to eat them:

Trim the ribs and use the wide, sturdy leaves in place of tortillas or bread for a healthy wrap. If the taste is too biting for you, cook them to mellow the flavor. Add smoked turkey for a healthier take on the traditional Southern collards-and-ham combo.

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Asparagus

Why it’s good for you:

Is your diet high in sodium? The potassium in asparagus can counteract sodium’s negative effect on your blood pressure. Hoping to get pregnant? Asparagus’s folic acid can prevent birth defects.

What it tastes like:

Fresh asparagus has a mellow flavor, but it really is a taste all its own.

How to eat it:

Serve steamed, sautéed, roasted or grilled as a side dish. To keep asparagus fresh for as long as possible, store standing up in the fridge in a small dish of water.

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Broccoli

Why it’s good for you:

A cousin to cabbage, broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is packed with vitamin C, calcium, fiber and phytochemicals, which may reduce the risk of cancer.

What it tastes like:

You may pick up on a hint of cabbage, but it’s fairly mild and there are many ways to prepare it.

How to eat it:

Raw is best since cooking damages some of its cancer-fighting compounds. Not a fan of raw broccoli? Toss it into stir-fries and omelets, or top your pizza or baked potato with it.

Click here if you would like to learn more about nutrition counseling at the LifeFit Wellness Center.Screen_Shot_2016-02-12_at_11.53.32_AM-083985-edited.png

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