How to eat more greens
Power up your health with nutrient-packed greens!
Greens 101: Elevate your health with plants
Temp check: how often do you chow down on leafy greens, herbs, and spears of asparagus? Do you prioritize veggies in your pasta? Or spinach in your smoothies? Maybe, like us, your answer varies. Truth be told, we don’t crave greens all the time. Some days, these cinnamon roll bites far outweigh a craving for a veggie-packed egg bake. And that’s okay! In fact, normal. That said, in the spirit of incorporating more leafy goodness into your meals and snacks, we’re deep diving into the vibrant world of greens—why they’re important and how to eat more of ‘em.
How many greens should you eat per day?
Let’s start here. Ultimately, this depends on various factors (age, sex, overall health, and individual nutrition needs). We’re all bio-individuals, after all! However, a general rule of thumb is to aim for at least 2-3 cups of leafy greens (or vegetables) per day. This can be spread out across meals and snacks.
Types of greens
Of course, there are many greens to explore—but these are a few universal favorites:
- Spinach: This versatile leafy green is packed with iron, vitamins A and C, and folate. Enjoy it in salads, smoothies, stir-fries, or sautés. Our spring green butter bean hummus is a must-make.
- Kale: Known as a nutritional powerhouse, kale is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and antioxidants. It works well in salads, soups, smoothies, and even as crispy kale chips. Try our tropical green smoothie, but sub the spinach for kale!
- Swiss Chard: With its vibrant colors and slightly bitter taste, Swiss chard provides an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as magnesium and potassium. Sauté, steam, or add it to your favorite stir-fries. We love loading up on Swiss chard during our luteal phase.
- Arugula: This peppery and slightly bitter green is low in calories and rich in vitamins A, K, and C. It adds a flavorful kick to salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. This creamy chèvre and arugula potato salad is to-die-for.
- Romaine Lettuce: Crisp and refreshing, romaine lettuce is high in vitamins A and K, as well as folate. It forms the base of many salads and is great for lettuce wraps or as a crunchy addition to sandwiches. Grill these chicken tzatziki kebabs and layer them on a bed of romaine.
- Collard Greens: These hearty greens are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and calcium. They are commonly used in Southern-style dishes, such as collard greens stewed with flavorful spices and served with cornbread. Add collard greens to our green goddess asparagus soup!
- Watercress: This peppery green is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and iron. Add it to salads, sandwiches, or use it as a garnish for soups and omelets. Throw a handful of watercress on our spicy turkey and hummus sandwich!
- Bok choy: A staple in Asian cuisine, bok choy offers vitamins A and C, as well as other minerals. Stir-fry it with other vegetables, add it to soups, or enjoy it as a side dish. Incorporate bok choy duing your ovulatory phase for a boost of calcium and potassium.
Why are greens the superheroes of nutrition?
This goes without saying, but prioritizing greens is one of the most influential ways to transform your health. From digestive health to hormone balance, these small but mighty plants pack a powerful punch.
Packed with fiber
Proper digestion is crucial, and greens keep things flowing. Rich in fiber, they promote smooth digestion, prevent constipation, and keep your gut bacteria happy. Not to mention, health digestion can lead to healthy skin!
- Encourage natural detox
Hello, gentle detoxification. Greens contain chlorophyll, which aids in liver detoxification, purifying your body from harmful toxins. Embrace the natural route to cleansing and feel rejuvenated from the inside out.
Loaded with vitamins and minerals
Greens are brimming with essential vitamins like A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. Fuel your body with the vitamins and minerals it deserves, all within a single, tasty leaf. Hot tip: for optimal vitamin absorption, pair your greens with a source of fat (avocado, olive oil, oils, full-fat cheese, seeds, etc.)!
Help balance hormones
Maintaining hormonal balance is key to overall well-being, maintaining a normal menstrual cycle, and minimizing PMS. Yet again, greens come to the rescue! The phytonutrients found in greens can help regulate hormone levels, supporting a healthy cycle, boosting fertility, and even reducing symptoms of menopause.
What if greens make you bloat?
We get it! If greens typically make you bloat, not all hope is lost. First, gradually increase your consumption of greens. This allows your body to adjust to the increased fiber content. Speaking of fiber, lightly cooking, steaming, or fermenting your greens can make them easier to digest (cooking breaks down some of the fibers, reducing the likelihood of bloating). Additionally, try diversifying your greens. Experiment with different types to see how your body reacts. Lastly, pair your greens with a digestive enzyme. Chat with your healthcare provider, but taking a high-quality digestive enzyme can assist in the breakdown of fiber.
Sneaking in your greens
Sneaking in greens isn't just reserved for kids—it's a clever and beneficial strategy for us, too. Whether it's blending them into smoothies or adding them to sauces, sneaking in greens is a smart way to meet (or exceed!) your daily nutritional needs. Best of all, there’s no need to sacrifice taste or convenience. These are a few of our go-to tips and tricks:
Smoothie boosters: Add a handful of spinach or frozen zucchini to your fruit smoothies. The mild taste of the greens is easily masked by the sweetness of the fruits.
Veggie wraps: Swap traditional wraps or tortillas with large lettuce leaves, such as romaine or collard greens, to create nutritious and refreshing wraps for sandwiches or tacos.
Sneaky sauces: Blend cooked greens like spinach, kale, or broccoli into pasta sauces, pesto, or even homemade dips like guacamole or hummus. The vibrant color won't give away the secret ingredients!
Veggie omelet: Fold chopped greens, such as spinach or Swiss chard, into your morning omelet or scrambled eggs. They add a burst of color, flavor, and nutrition.
Pureed greens: Puree greens like broccoli, spinach, or zucchini and add them to your favorite soups. The blended greens will enhance the texture and nutritional value of the soup.
Pizza toppings: After your pizza bakes, load it with an array of dressed greens (spinach, arugula, microgreens, etc.). Simply mix your greens with a simple salad dressing and top your pizza with your flavorful greens.
Zucchini noodles: Substitute traditional pasta with spiralized zucchini (zoodles) or other veggie noodles. Toss them with your favorite sauce or stir-fry for a low-carb, high-greens alternative.
Herby meatballs: Finely chop tender herbs, like basil, parsley, and chives, and mix them into your meatball mixture. They add moisture, nutrients, and a pop of color.
Stuffed bell peppers: Mix cooked greens like Swiss chard or collard greens into the stuffing for bell peppers. They'll add an extra layer of flavor and nutrition to the dish.
A few favorites from this week.
One of our favorite ways to get greens – green juice!
Another favorite? Colorful green salads!
Okay, maybe you’re not craving chlorophyll, but it’s an extremely nutritious compound worth the pantry (or fridge) space. But, what is chlorophyll? It’s the pigment responsible for what makes plants green. And its benefits know no bounds: it acts as a potent antioxidant, aids in detoxification by eliminating toxins, supports healthy digestion, and may even have anti-inflammatory properties. And while chlorophyll isn’t a cure-all for hormonal issues, it can indirectly support optimal hormone production and balance.
What’s the easiest way to consume chlorophyll? Leafy greens, of course! That said, we love this peppermint chlorophyll tincture from Mary Ruth’s. Add it to your morning lemon water, matcha, or a smoothie for a boost of antioxidants. Additionally, you can also try chlorophyll-rich superfood powders—spirulina, wheatgrass, chlorella, and moringa. They are created by drying and finely grinding the greens, preserving their nutritional content!
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