Last week, we talked green thumbs in the gardening edition of our Spring Health Tip Series. When gardening this spring, remember that it is the perfect time to grow greens! Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and leafy greens thrive in 50-70 degree weather. Whether you nurture them yourself or pick them up in your local produce aisle, eating your greens can have multiple benefits (WebMD).

Greens combat cancer. Studies have shown that consuming green vegetables is linked to decreased risk of lung, stomach, and intestinal cancers, in addition to other types. Greens also help strengthen your heart and body to prevent heart disease and diabetes (American Cancer Society).

Greens are a source of iron. Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale contain high sources of non-heme (plant-based) iron. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues (National Institutes of Health). A combination of iron and vitamin C rich foods like oranges and strawberries is perfect for preventing anemia in a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Greens provide fiber: Cruciferous veggies and leafy greens are famous for their fiber contents. A diet rich in fiber helps to maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of diabetes. Fiber can also lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, and promote a healthy digestive system.

Now that you know some of the benefits of greens, take advantage of this perfect time to incorporate them in your diet.

Go Green in the Kitchen:

  • Breakfast: Add spinach to an omelet or sneak it into a breakfast smoothie.
  • Lunch: Add kale to soups and stews, or mixed salad greens to a wrap or sandwich.
  • Dinner: Add greens to stir-fry. Try sugar snap peas, bok choy, swiss chard, spinach, or zucchini. This will give you bulk and help fill you up.
  • Snack: Stock your snack bag with broccoli and hummus or make your own kale chips. So trendy!

Sources: American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health, WebMD, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.