Don’t forget to eat your greens for Labor Day

We don’t mean filling up on green food coloring and green sodas, but how about considering adding a new tradition – more green foods in your diet.


“Green foods across the board are healthy in terms of their vitamin, mineral, water and antioxidant content, and Labor Day is the perfect time to think about how you can incorporate more of them into your diet,” says Erica Wald, RD, a wellness coordinator with the MFit Health Promotion Division at the University of Michigan Health System.


The key, as with any diet, is variety.


“You want to incorporate lots of different intensities of green all the various colors of green,” she says. “The more varied the colors, the more varied your vitamin and mineral intake.”


Wald also says that preparing them in a variety of ways, such as putting them in soups, stews, and casseroles even serving them raw are great ways to incorporate more greens into your diet.


Here are seven healthy and delicious tips for eating green:


  1. Increase your fiber with broccoli. Broccoli provides many health benefits, including both soluble and insoluble fiber; vitamins A, C and E (important antioxidants for staving off cellular damage from free-radicals); vitamin K for bone health; and a special antioxidant called sulforaphane, known for its powerful anticancer properties.


  1. Vary your leafy greens. It’s important to remember that leafy green vegetables, such as lettuces, come in varying shades of green. The lighter the green, the fewer vitamins and minerals they contain. The darker the green, the higher the concentration of vitamins and minerals. Spinach, a dark leafy green, contains lutein which is good for eye health. Collard greens also contain sulforaphane and beta carotene.


  1. For bone health, look at vegetables like asparagus, green/herbal teas, spinach, kale, turnip, collard and mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, endive and brussel sprouts.


  1. Improve cholesterol with avocado, which is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which can help lower your cholesterol. Consider tossing your dark-green, leafy salad with a few slices of fresh avocado and balsamic vinegar for added benefit.


  1. Alternate oranges with kiwifruit. Kiwifruit contains even more vitamin C than oranges, and they’re an excellent source of dietary fiber.


  1. Snack on green apples. While green apples offer about the same benefits as red or yellow apples, Wald says green apples are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which aid in digestion and heart health.


  1. Drink tea green tea. If you like to drink tea, consider choosing green tea instead of black, oolong or other darker teas. Green tea next to white tea packs the biggest punch when it comes to antioxidants. It also contains flavonoids, a class of naturally occurring plant compounds that function as antioxidants.


Whether you like your green vegetables raw or cooked, there are many ways you can incorporate them into your meals.


All these foods are a great way to improve your diet. But whatever you do, don’t forget you still need your VitaMist Sprays to make sure that you are getting all the vitamins you need every single day.

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