“Eat your Vegetables!”
How many times have you heard this advice?
How often do you follow it?
Every health agency and nutritional guru recommends at least 3-5 servings of vegetables per day. Research shows that only about 9% of the population gets the recommended amount and even more concerning is that over half of the population may go days without eating a single vegetable.
Let me give you some good solid reasons why eating vegetables is a good idea:
· Lowers your risk of heart disease
· Reduces your risk of certain cancers
· Improves teeth and bone structure
· Improves memory and brain function
· Less chance of weight gain
· Improves immune function
If you need to increase your vegetable consumption and are looking for a good place to start, start with leafy greens.
They are superstars and there is a wonderful world of variety when it comes to greens.
Kale: Is loaded with antioxidant vitamins, and rich in the natural plant compounds
called photochemicals. Provides high doses of Vitamin K, A and C.
Spinach: One of the best food sources of vitamin K. It's also rich in flavonoids
compounds that do double duty as antioxidants and cancer-fighters.
Swiss Chard: Is a close relative of spinach and of beets. It is a great source of
beta-carotene, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and vitamin C.
Dandelion Greens: Contain more beta-carotene than any other green veggie, and have
more vitamin A than any food except cod liver oil and beef liver! They are also rich in
calcium, potassium, vitamin K and fiber.
Eat your veggies and eat you weeds!!
Not only do dandelion greens provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals they are also beneficial in easing digestion, decreasing inflammation, aiding in detoxification and eliminating water retention. Many grocery stores are beginning to offer cultivated dandelion greens during the spring, you can also grow and harvest your own. Just be certain that your dandelions do not come in contact with any fertilizers or pesticides and are away from any exhaust fumes.
Every year I get so excited as my garden begins to come back to life after a long winter. The very first greens to start popping out of the dirt. . . these are my dandelion plants. Some people would quickly get out the shovel and dig out the roots or spray on the Round-up. Not me! I love watching the dandelions grow. I harvest them for salads, toss some leaves into my morning smoothie or layer them on a veggie sandwich. My son uses them to feed Smaug his bearded dragon. If we can’t keep up with their production, I wash them, spin them dry in a salad spinner, bag them and freeze them for future smoothies.