Plain Ol’ Lettuce Amidst the Superfood Greens Craze

Gotta get those greens, greens, greens! There exists a plethora of green foods products that are undoubtedly beneficial for one’s health. Among all the powders, tablets and food bars is just plain leafy greens. While Greens Products are absolutely wonderful, there truly is no replacement for eating plain ol’ greens! Additionally, they may not be as plain as we perceive them to be – the variety of edible greens is astounding.

Spring is a perfect time to explore new greens. It is a natural time for new greens to grow and to plant the more tolerant cold hardy varieties. Growing all around us are wild edible greens such as wild greens like dandelion, sorrel, violets, and cress. Wild greens often have stronger tastes whether earthy, bitter or sour and are often considered ‘dark, leafy’ greens like we regard Kale, Collards, Beet Greens and Chard. These wild and dark greens are more palatable for many people when harvested early as ‘baby or micro’ greens. Certain leafy garden vegetables like spinach, arugula, tatsoi and lettuces (romaine, butterhead) are also tolerant cold hardy greens. Overall, greens can be planted and eaten from early spring to late summer with later summer plantings edible and harvestable into late fall.

See below for a list of more accessible greens to see the variety and perhaps you can identify which leafy greens you have eaten and what ones you might want to try!

The Health Magic of Leafy Vegetables

It’s true that leafy greens are full of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other disease fighting chemicals good for human health. These include Calcium, Folate, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. What we often overlook is that each green has a different nutrient profile to contribute and in order to optimize the health benefits of greens we need to ensure we get a variety of greens into our diets. For instance, leafy greens can be high in Vitamin K with Kale having the highest reported levels of Vitamin K.

No green is really the ‘best’ and eating a variety is truly the most important for overall health. One might find it important to include more of one type of green if you are looking for a certain nutrient. For example, Swiss Chard is very high in Iron and Kale is very high in Vitamin C and so you might combine the two to help improve Iron levels.

In general, leafy vegetables are rich in fiber. Fiber helps movement of material through the digestive system and normalizes bowel movements by adding bulk and softening stool. Having regular digestion and good bowel movements is extremely important to overall health.

Green, leafy vegetables ensure beautiful skin and hair, help ensure strong teeth and bones, help to maintain a healthy weight, regulate digestion, and contain antioxidants and constituents that reduce risk of issues like cataracts, muscular degeneration and help in growth and repair of body tissues.

Drinking fresh juices with greens added is another good way to get the benefits of green, leafy vegetables. Juicing is held in high regard when it comes to energizing the body with nutrients and gaining radiant health. Remember though, the fiber of greens removed in juicing can help with digestion so much! Don’t forget the salad.

‘Superfood’ Greens Supplements

In a fast-paced environment, grab and go is very helpful. In this way greens powders, tablets and bars are extremely effective. These products and the technology used to develop them also give us the privileged ability to introduce a variety of greens into our diet and a power blast of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.

Some great greens powders that we carry at the Health Hutt are Vitamineral Green by HealthForce SuperFoods, Amazing Grass products , and Navitas greens . Some greens supplements we carry are NOW products and Garden of Life among many others! We carry greens in powdered, tablet and in delicious food bar form and have special sections in our Vitamin and Supplement departments for greens. Stop in and ask any of our staff or message us via Facebook if you would like any assistance.

The Health Hutt Deli at the Norton Shores location serves juices with kale and options to add greens to smoothies. As well as salads and wraps made to order or grab n’ go!

If you just loathe greens, try out a variety of delicious food bars with greens in them! There are even some chocolate or yogurt covered ones. This could be a great entry point for someone whose palate is not used to greens and needs a nice way to ease in.

The troublesome side of supplementing greens is that we might forget to eat whole, leafy vegetables. The principle ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ may be a good reminder here. While juicing and greens powders are good for us, eating some whole greens is also beneficial – at least for getting fiber into the diet!

In summary, eating a variety of green, leafy vegetables, including dark or wild greens, and incorporating some greens powders or juice is a great approach in striving for radiant health!

Here’s a huge world wide list of Leafy Vegetables on Wikipedia!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Featured image by Dwight Sippler under CC by 2.0 license

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