Go green and lower your risk for chronic disease

“Go Green” with Michigan State University Extension when it comes to choosing your vegetables.

Dark green vegetables like broccoli, romaine lettuce, kale and spinach are not only tasty, but contain many nutrients that will help lower your risk for developing chronic disease. Some of the nutrients that dark green veggies contain include vitamins A, C, K, calcium and fiber. These nutrients help lower your cholesterol and your risk for developing heart disease. They also help reduce your risk for cancers that can be linked to food, like breast and colon cancer. The fiber in dark green vegetables lowers your heart disease risk by moving some of the fat and cholesterol you eat out of your digestive system. Fiber rich foods also help fill you up so you feel full with fewer calories.

Vegetables are naturally low in calories and are mostly fat and sodium free. Avoid adding extra fat or salt to these vegetables when you prepare them. Dark green veggies are great additions to salads and can be used to enhance the nutrition of soups, stir-fry, casseroles and sandwiches.

Try some of these tips for adding dark green vegetables to your meals, recommended by Michigan State University Extension:

  • Blend spinach or kale leaves into your morning breakfast smoothie.
  • Layer fresh romaine or spinach leaves on your sandwiches.
  • Add fresh broccoli, romaine, kale and spinach to salads.
  • Stir broccoli, kale or spinach into soups. The heat will cause them to wilt and blend into the soup.
  • Many greens like collard, kale, mustard or turnip greens can be thinly sliced and sautéed with a little olive oil and garlic for a healthy, tasteful side dish.
  • Dark green veggies can be pureed and stirred into casseroles and soups. A helpful tip if you have little ones resistant to eating anything green.

So the next time you’re at the market, “go green!” Pick up some dark green veggies and make healthier eating your goal.

For more tips on healthy eating contact your local MSU Extension office.

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