No green beer or Irish soda bread here!
9 green superfoods for your St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Nestled between Valentine’s Day and the Spring holidays is the Irish tradition of St. Patrick’s Day. Despite it’s religious roots, for many Americans the holiday involves drinking green-colored beer (which, despite being our signature color, is still not #FFACTORAPPROVED). In the spirit of the St. Patty’s Day and improving our health in this current time of need, let’s celebrate by nourishing our bodies with green super foods instead. Our own version of lucky charms, these green super foods are loaded with antioxidants and essential nutrients, setting you up for success. St. Patrick’s day will come and go, but we advise that you enjoy these delicious nutritious foods all year round.
Kiwi is among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants. Not only are they low in calories, but one large one supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C. Kiwis also contains fiber and potassium (more than a banana!). To really benefit from the fiber content, use the entire kiwi, skin and all! Eat one as you regularly would with the skin, or blend a whole fruit into a smoothie, like this one, if the texture tickles your tongue.
These green leaves have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, and for good reason. They’re packed with healthy nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, K and C. Specifically, kale contains carotenoids like lutein and zeaxathin, which may help prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
It turns out that Popeye really was onto something with is love for spinach. This classic leafy green is filled with antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which have multitudes of health benefits including possible cancer-preventing properties. Spinach is also a great source of iron, especially for any vegetarians who often lack iron in their diet. Use spinach as a base to salads, or sautéed as a healthy side-dish. Fresh or frozen, it can also be added to omelets, egg muffins or blended it into a smoothie. You won’t even be able to taste it—yet you still reap the benefits!
(4) SWISS CHARD
As a leafy green, we know that Swiss chard is high in Vitamins A, K, and C, but it contains a few other key nutrients too. In addition to being packed with fiber and protein, it is a good source of magnesium, AKA the “calming mineral” that can help relieve anxiety and also improve gut motility. It is also high in potassium which helps for proper hydration and electrolyte functioning.
More than a garnish, this flavorful herb is densely packed with antioxidants, iron, and magnesium. It’s a great source of vitamin K, and adds a touch of freshness to salsas, salads, and soups too. What’s more, it can help combat halitosis—chew on that benefit!
(6) BITTER GREENS
Collards, mustard, and turnip greens contain vitamin A, B6, C, E, and K, calcium, copper and iron. They’re also high in phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which help detox the body and lower oxidative stress, decreasing the risk of cells becoming cancerous. What’s interesting about these greens is that the reason they taste bitter is because the bitter glucosinolate compounds are natural toxins or pesticides to help ward off other animals who might destroy the plants.
Despite seemingly new to some, matcha has been around for a long time and is really one of the original superfoods. Matcha is finely ground green tea powder, meaning that it contains the whole leaf, whereas conventional green tea does not. This means that matcha provides more than 100 times the antioxidant power of green tea! The compounds that give matcha its superfood status are catechins, specifically EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), which is an antioxidant that helps fight free radical damage to cells. EGCG has been shown to help protect against skin, lung, prostate, and liver cancer, and have metabolism-boosting properties. Think outside the latte and add a teaspoon to your high-fiber muffins or pancakes for a green superfood boost.
(8) COLLARD GREENS
While commonly associated with Southern fare, everyone could use a little more collard greens in their lives; they’re great for you! Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that dark leafy greens such as collard greens are associated with a decreased risk of cancers, including breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers. To get the biggest nutrient punch from collard greens, simply cut the collards into thin strips and steam for five minutes. As with Swiss chard, they’re also a great substitute for no-carb wraps.
Forget oranges, 1 cup cooked broccoli provides 135% of your daily vitamin C requirements. But that’s not all, that cup of cooked broc also provides more than half (53%) of your daily requirement for chromium, a mineral that aids in blood sugar control. Like cauliflower, broccoli can be riced, which opens up the versatility of this superfood ten-fold. You can even use it to make pizza crusts!
Cheers (we’ll stick to tequila, not green beer) to a healthy, happy life!