Making the Most of Eating Green Food
Eating green is easier and tastier than you may think
By Star Lawrence
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
With spring upon us, it's time to think green. Researchers credit green veggies with promoting colon and heart health, as well as providing folic acid to pregnant women to prevent birth defects. And guess what? Greens in the kale family also contain as much calcium as milk. And they help balance all the sodium in our diets with healthy potassium.
Leafy green vegetables and fruits are loaded with antioxidants, minerals, folate, and flavonoids. These all work to prevent unstable molecules called free radicals from damaging cells.
Melissa Diane Smith, nutritionist and author of Going Against the Grain: How Reducing and Avoiding Grains Can Revitalize Your Health, tells WebMD that most Americans don't even come close to the recent revised dietary recommendations of eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. "Eat vegetables in place of grains," she urges.
Even salad-phobes can easily get more green in their diets.
Tips for Greening Up Your Plate
Unfortunately, eating vegetables is not an automatic choice for humans. Therefore, it's a challenge to present green foods in enough different ways to titillate the jaded palate. Some ideas:
Sometimes we overlook some good sources of green power.
Edamame are soybeans harvested while young and still in their pods. They can be found in the produce section or a salted form as a snack food. Soy is great at destroying free radicals and has been shown in some studies to lower the risk of breast cancer and lower cholesterol. Soy can even contribute to bone strength and help prevent osteoporosis. Carol A. Miles, PhD, agricultural systems specialist at the Washington State University Vancouver Research Station, tells WebMD that she thinks of edamame as a protein source. "No cholesterol!" she adds. She boils the fresh pods for three minutes; butter and salt are optional. Miles says she doesn't even add them.
Green olives have been cultivated since prehistoric times and are healing not only to nations (olive branch) but to innards. The pale green oil does not clog arteries and is credited with helping prevent some cancers. It is even singled out as beneficial in the government's new dietary guidelines (www.usda.gov). Cross recommends using olives themselves in salads, spaghetti sauce, ratatouille, stews, and almost any savory dish.
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