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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jill King

Why Leafy Greens Are Good For You


Leafy greens are an important part of a healthy diet because they are nutrient-dense and provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, and folate. They are also low in calories and high in fiber, which can help with weight management and digestion. Eating leafy greens can also lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.


Both fresh and cooked greens can be part of a healthy diet. It depends on personal preference and how you're incorporating them into your meals.

Fresh greens, such as lettuce and spinach, are a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. They provide a crisp texture and a fresh flavor.


Cooked greens, such as kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard, can be sautéed, roasted, or boiled. Cooking can help to soften the tough fibers of these greens, making them more digestible. Cooking can also help to enhance the flavor and release some of the nutrients, making them more easily absorbed by the body. So, both fresh and cooked greens have their own unique benefits, and it's a good idea to include both in your diet for a variety of nutrients and flavors.


Here's a simple and delicious salad recipe that showcases leafy greens:

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups mixed greens (such as spinach, arugula, and kale)

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 cup cucumber, sliced

  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese, walnuts, and avocado.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine.

  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

This salad is a great combination of fresh, crisp greens, crunchy vegetables, and creamy avocado, all tossed in a simple and flavorful dressing. You can also add your favorite ingredients, such as grilled chicken or shrimp, to make it a complete meal.


If you're not a vinegar and oil lover, here's a simple and delicious recipe for homemade ranch dressing:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, lemon juice, garlic, dill, parsley, chives, salt, and pepper.

  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, to allow the flavors to develop.

  4. Stir the dressing before using, and serve with your favorite salads, vegetables, or as a dipping sauce.

This homemade ranch dressing is creamy, tangy, and full of flavor. It's a great alternative to store-bought dressings and can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences.



Steaming is another great way to cook greens and minimize bitterness. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Rinse the greens thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.

  2. Trim the tough stems and discard them.

  3. Cut the greens into smaller, evenly-sized pieces.

  4. Place the greens in a steaming basket or colander over boiling water. Make sure the greens are not touching the water.

  5. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for 3-5 minutes, or until the greens are just wilted but still bright green. Overcooking can cause bitterness.

  6. Remove from heat and immediately transfer the greens to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

  7. Drain the greens and season to taste with salt, pepper, and other seasonings, such as lemon juice or vinegar.

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