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Green Living, Green Eating: Know Your Leafy Greens

June 29, 2012

Green living certainly includes green eating – literally! Getting to know your greens is a great way to improve your nutrition, and most of these greens can be found at your local farmers’ market.

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Here’s a quick run-down of our favorite vitamin-packed, leafy green all-stars:

  • Collard Greens: Thought to lower cholesterol, collards are a staple of soul food. They can be incorporated into all sorts of soups, stews, and casseroles, or sautéed with garlic to soften them up and add flavor.
  • Kale: This nutritious powerhouse is packed with vitamins A, C, and six times the daily requirement of vitamin K. It’s hearty enough to fare well in soups and pastas, but goes great in salad with a little lemon vinaigrette, garlic, and panko.
  • Turnip greens: Don’t throw the greens out when enjoying your next bunch of turnips. The greens are a great source of vitamins K and B6. They are excellent braised on the stovetop, or incorporated into a ginger stir-fry along with turnips and carrots.
  • Bok Choy: This Asian cabbage is a great source of calcium that is easy for the body to absorb. It is also packed with antioxidants. Delicious as a side dish or incorporated into a stir fry or Asian soup.
  • Watercress: Similar to spinach but with a slightly peppery flavor, this tender green is excellent in salads and a generous source of carotenoids, which are believed to protect your vision.
  • Swiss Chard: Hearty and beautiful with deep green leaves and rich purple veins, Swiss chard delivers quite a bit of iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Use it similarly to kale.
  • Escarole: Though not as well-known as many of these other greens, escarole should not be overlooked: rich in fiber and folate, it also supplies vitamins A, C and K. Escarole’s inner leaves work well in salads, and its outer leaves are well fitted for soups and stews.

What’s your favorite way to use greens in the kitchen?

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