Well this is a nice healthy topic. Let’s see what we can find out shall we?

To start let me tell you about Kale.  Kale is very high in fibre which means it can add bulk to your diet without calories (if that’s what you’re worried about)  Kale is one of the best sources of beta carotene which is believed to help fights against cancers, heart disease and some age related chronic diseases.

In addition to beta-carotene, kale posses other important carotenoids: lutein and zeaxathin. These carotenoids help keep UV rays from damaging the eyes and causing cataracts.

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And if that weren’t enough, according to recent research results, kale is an incredible source of well-absorbed calcium, which is one of the many factors that may help prevent osteoporosis. It also provides decent amounts of vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium.
The manganese in kale helps your body’s own antioxidant defense system, superoxide dismutase, protecting you from damaging free radicals. Its folate and B6 team up to keep homocysteine levels down, which may help prevent heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis bone fractures.

So you can see how good Kale is for you and it is also amazingly versatile.

You can stir fry it, bake it, steam it, add it to salads, add it to smoothies and how about Kale chips?

1 Bunch Tuscan Kale Leaves

1 tbs olive oil

Rinse and let it dry. Cut kale in half lengthwise, removing centre ribs and stems.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In large bowl, toss kale leaves with oil & salt and pepper to taste.
On two large baking sheets, arrange a single layer of kale.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool.

And here’s a recipe for my favourite juice

2 dark green apples, very large bunch Kale, 1 cucumber, 4 sticks celery, ginger

Stick them in a juice, blend.  Delicious, and very good for you too

Next on our good green list has to be Spinach. Spinach is believed to be of Persian origin. By the 12th century, it spread across Europe and became a desirable leafy green known for good health; a reputation that stands firm to this day. The name Florentine is often used to describe dishes containing spinach (and a creamy sauce). It is thought that this name dates back to the 16th century and the Italian wife of France’s Henry II, Catherine de Medici. This tale states that Catherine introduced spinach to the Court of France and to honour her Italian heritage, she then decided to call any dish containing spinach Florentine. Spinach is available all year round but is best between March and June. It is well known for its nutritional qualities and has always been regarded with remarkable abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. The main reasons why spinach would produce such results,  is that  it is rich in iron. Iron plays a central role in the function of red blood cells which help in transporting oxygen around the body, in energy production and DNA synthesis. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach.   Like Kale, Spinach is also very versatile and can be stir fried, steamed, baked, added to salads, used in stuffings.

A smoothie serves as a snack to help get you through the day, or can be used to replenish energy and nutrient stores after a tough workout. In addition to their virtually limitless versatility. Smoothies allow you to consume several servings of vegetables and fruits in one sitting. A smoothie made with banana and spinach provides your body with several essential nutrients, and offers a number of health benefits.

best greens to add to your salads2

One of the health benefits of consuming spinach and banana smoothies is increased vitamin K intake. Vitamin K plays an essential role in early wound healing — it triggers the aggregation of blood cells, called platelets, into blood clots and stops bleeding at the site of injury. Make your smoothie with 2 cups of raw spinach to add almost 290 micrograms of vitamin K — more than twice the 120 micrograms recommended daily for men and more than three times the 90 micrograms recommended daily for woman.

A smoothie made with spinach and banana also provides potassium. An essential mineral, potassium facilitates muscle function and nerve communication, and also helps control your blood pressure. Both bananas and spinach serve as sources of the mineral. Each large banana added to your smoothie contributes 487 milligrams of potassium to your meal, while 2 cups of raw spinach provides an additional 335.. Bananas and spinach both contain beta-carotene, a yellow pigment that serves as a source of vitamin A. After absorption, your body splits each beta-carotene molecule into two vitamin A molecules, which it uses to maintain your immune system and retinas, as well as to help guide the development of newly produced cells.

Another awesome green to look out for is Collard Greens.  Collard Greens contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, antioxidants. The cholesterol-lowering ability of collard greens may be the greatest of all commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. It has the to bind bile acids in the digestive tract. When this bile acid binding takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted from the body. Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of this bile acid binding is a lowering of the body’s cholesterol level. It’s worth noting that steamed collards show much greater bile acid binding ability than raw collards.    We also get unique health benefits from collard greens in the form of cancer protection. The cancer-preventive properties of collard greens may be largely related to 4 specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin. Each of these glucosinolates can be converted into an isothiocyanate (ITC) that helps lower our cancer risk by supporting our detox and anti-inflammatory systems. And as an alternative to Kale you can certainly use Collard Greens In your salads and smoothies.

So what other Greens can you put in your smoothies?.  How about Swiss Chard, it’s a great alternative to Spinach, is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and K. Chard also helps support bone, lung and heart health whilst boosting the immune system.   Then there’s also Dandelions Greens.  Dandelion Greens are used to cleanse the liver and gallbladder and to help support kidney function. They may help stabilize blood sugar and lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, K, calcium and iron.  Blending one cup of dandelion greens with one cup of other green such as spinach or kale might help even out the bitterness.

Well I don’t know if that’s all the best greens to add to your salads and smoothies but they will certainly add a great deal of flavour, nutrients and variety to them.

Enjoy

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