Greens for Mind and Body Wellness
BY: Danielle Winston
April 16, 2022
Green is Mother Nature's signature color. Rooted in the antioxidant chlorophyll, it embodies the lushness of the Earth’s abundance. When it comes to eating your greens, their taste and health content is as varied as trees in the forest. It’s a good idea to add an avocado, or cold-pressed olive oil to your selection, since small amounts of fat help your body to process chlorophyll more efficiently.
Here are a handful of greens, worthy of mindful consideration:
Romaine – of all the greens, it weighs in with the highest level of Vitamin A content: one cup contains over 4,000 IUs. It also contains C, (A&C are linked to strengthen vision). Romaine is immunity-boosting and contains fiber, vitamin C, copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and much more. For easy prep, sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pistachios, and add chives for a healthy zing.
Purslane - This entire wild, succulent vegetable is packed with wellness benefits, including a relaxing compound that helps lull you to sleep. Linked to cancer prevention, it’s an omega powerhouse, with both 3 and 6, as well as B vitamins and minerals. Purslane helps boost your immune response, build bones, and reduce inflammation. Naturally chewy, make sure to cook or steam in order to soften, or add to soups.
Mustard Greens - Michelle Robinson, vegan chef, entrepreneur/culinary consultant of Culinary Solutions International, likes these antioxidant-rich greens for their vitamins C, K, A, Bs, and copper content, as “they boost energy and lower diabetes risk.” For “a nice spicy bite,” Robinson suggests preparing a raw salad with tahini dressing, and “lightly sautee with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and pink salt. Cooking reduces spiciness.”
Callaloo - “In Jamaica, it is common to see this vegetable prepared stuffed inside a flaky pastry crust (Callaloo patty), or our local bread (called Callaloo loaf),” says Robinson of the Caribbean favorite. With a substantial amount of fiber, these dark greens (from the amaranth family) have “high levels of minerals that make it an excellent detoxifier to keep your body more alkaline, as well as hair and skin glowing,” says Robinson, who likes to prepare it “raw in a salad, or cooked with chopped onion and garlic, scallions, and thyme, with salt and pepper to taste.”
Microgreens – These encompass garlic, lentils, beets and radishes. There are an abundance of varieties, and micros are special since they are picked shortly after germination, offering a super-powered nutrient boost as much as 40 times higher than their fully grown counterparts! According to Mind Body Eating Coach, Susan Zilberman, certified by The Institute for the Psychology of Eating and Am I Hungry ®️, a crucial aspect of Mindful Eating is “learning how to connect with the planet, as it relates to food. Because microgreens are harvested so soon after planting, they offer a closer connection to the earth than most greens. Growing them yourself gives you a rare chance to witness them at various stages, and adds to the mindful experience.” For planting details read Urban Leaf -Different Types Of Microgreens.
*Note: want to boost your chlorophyll consumption? Enjoy a cup of Matcha with your meal; the brilliant green tea has almost 10 mg per gram.
Add a dash of fun to your greens. Mix it up with different varieties and new recipes. Whichever you choose, take a moment of gratitude to deepen mindfulness. “Pause before you pick up your fork, think of the steps it took to bring the leaves to you: farmers, seeds, sunlight, water, turning the plants green,” suggests Zilberman. Contemplate the unique benefits and flavors of your greens as you taste. Don't throw out the leafy tops of your veggies either. There's plenty of goodness in plant greens too. For info on benefits and prep, read 5 Veggie Tops that are Edible & Delicious.