If you haven’t heard already, leafy greens are incredibly heart-healthy. So why not say “I Love You” with leafy greens on Valentine’s Day? Most of us celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate. That’s a given. Well, even though I am planning on making a heart-shaped pizza and a heart-shaped giant chocolate chip cookie, I also went out and picked up my two quarts of green smoothies from GreenFix to say to my family, “I Love You!”
Huh? This is the deal. I wish my kids would drink “swamp juice” but they don’t. Trust me, I have tried. The cookie and pizza are for my kiddos and the greens are for my husband. Saying to my husband, “I want you to be your healthiest” is pretty much saying, “I Love You!”
Taken from Healthline’s post 15 Incredibly Heart-Healthy Foods, “Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function. Studies show that a higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.”
Vitamin K is abundantly found in leafy green vegetables such as kale, parsley, broccoli, spinach, iceberg lettuce, cabbage and bok choy.
Leafy greens are also rich in fiber, which lowers cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease.
- Calcium – greens have calcium and can be more easily digested then cows milk
- Potassium – greens may be anti-inflammatory and may prevent strokes and heart disease.
- Vitamins & Minerals – greens provide iron and zinc, antioxidants, and magnesium, a nutrient that may lower the risk of a range of health concerns including diabetes, heart disease, and sudden cardiac death.
- Nitrates – nitric oxide formed from plant-based nitrate may play a role in the prevention of heart disease and high blood pressure
- Carotenoids – Cancer fighting antioxidants.
- Fiber – may reduce cholesterol, helps you feel full, and is great for your digestion.
I’m going to be honest, the list of health benefits from eating leafy greens goes on and on and on. So let’s all make a pact and EAT MORE!
Ways To Eat Leafy Greens
I try to sneak greens into almost every meal. Even though kale seems to rule the blog and restaurant world…my absolute favorite green is Swiss chard. I learned of this green while owning my restaurant. We use to do trades with a local organic farm. Basically, we catered their safety meetings in exchange for a crap ton of fresh organic produce. We almost always had to work with Swiss chard. It must be easy to grow in San Diego winters.
The best way to cook greens is often the simplest way. Sauteing with olive oil, chili pepper flakes and garlic. My favorite go-to recipe is from Williams-Sonoma. Toss in some tomatoes and beans and you have a quick and easy side dish. Toss in some pasta and you have a meal. It’s that easy!
This is the deal, to put more healthy greens in your diet, try tossing in a couple of handfuls of leafy greens into as many dinners as you can. Always at the last minute and cook just until slightly wilted. I do this with arugula all the time. Oh arugula…my other favorite! Another time.
Get Your Fix
My favorite way and the easiest way to consume greens is by swinging over to GreenFix for their organic smoothie refill. Everyday, they blend organic, locally sourced fresh greens with a little bit of fruit. I save a dollar by bringing in my own mason jars. Shockingly my husband doesn’t mind the taste, (he loves their “Apple Pie” smoothie) and we each drink a small glass in the morning before we head out on our way. It gives us energy and fills us up. They sell their smoothies at local farmers markets as well.
I am always on the look out for places like this when I travel. One morning I discovered a place about an hour from where we live while attending a rugby game. It is called Greens Please. They have several locations in San Diego County. They offer the same quality product, plus the best chocolate energy bars. If you know of any businesses like this please let us know in the comments.