Leafy greens are one of our favorite nutrient superstars in our peri and post menopausal years.
Their rich mineral content (including calcium and magnesium), are key players in bone health.
Vitamins K, beta carotene (vitamin A), folate and fiber are super for your heart, and fiber helps keep your microbiome happy and digestion running smoothly.
Greens also contain some serious powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants, that include lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two key players in reducing risk of macular degeneration.
Lutein also plays a neuroprotective role and may help with attention and the ability to focus. Study results suggest that people who eat even one serving of green, leafy vegetables a day may experience a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than people who rarely or never eat them.
To boot, older adults who eat at least one serving of leafy green vegetables show an equivalent of being 11 years younger cognitively. WOW.
But how many times have you bought those greens only to have them turn brown in the bottom of your veggie crisp drawer?
To avoid this all-too-common mishap, here’s the plan:
- Get your greens bagged and triple washed
- Toss them into anything and everything you can think of!
The beauty of cooking with greens is that they can be paired with so many dishes. One of their best qualities is that they cook SO quickly, adding a nice convenience factor. Here are some menu ideas to get you started:
- Salads: Ditch the iceberg and perk up your salad with a dark green mix of Romaine, spinach, arugula, red leaf or radicchio
- Smoothies: Toss into smoothies for an extra green punch
- Burgers: Chop greens and add them to ground grass-fed beef or organic chicken or turkey
- Wraps: Use blanched collards or large leaves of Butter lettuce or Romaine as a wrap instead of bread
- Soups: Chop up kale, Swiss chard or mustard greens and toss right into your favorite soup
- Stir-fries: Add chopped leafy greens to your next stir-fry
- Sautés: Gently sautéed collards, kale, Swiss chard or spinach are delicious when sautéed in olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or ghee.
- Whole Grains: stretch your grains by tossing chopped greens into quinoa, brown or wild rice, etc
Here is a quick run-down of some of our favorite family members:
Most greens can be found in supermarkets year-round, but freshness and quality can vary greatly. Look for crisp stalks with shiny, unblemished leaves. Peak season in most areas is from June through October, where you can look for them at local farm stands.
Want to know more about nutrient superstars in midlife? Check out PM Meal Mastery.