How To Incorporate More "green" Into Your Diet

While the term “living green” is synonymous with being eco-friendly it also describes the kind of food we should all be eating more of for improved health.

This isn’t news for most people. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that less than one-third of American adults eat the amount of fruits and vegetables the government recommends. What makes this even more troubling is the fact one of the leading killers of Americans is colon cancer. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research up to 75% of cases of colon cancer could be prevented by diet. One of the best ways to arm ourselves in the fight against cancer, especially colorectal cancer, is to eat foods rich in folic acid and fiber. Green leafy vegetables fit the bill for this requirement.

The challenge for many people is to identify enough vegetable varieties and come up with enough recipes that will be tasty and satisfying. Some great leafy vegetables include spinach, turnip greens, beet greens, kale, collard greens and lettuces (Romaine, Boston, Arugula and many other tasty varieties).

For those of you looking for some interesting and tasty meal suggestions for inspiration consider the following less known varieties and food preparation ideas.

Kale is a beautiful leafy vegetable that is from the same family of vegetables as cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts. It has a pungent flavor that is great eaten on its own or mixed with other vegetables. Raw kale is delicious with a bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar and freshly ground pepper.

If you’re not from the south then you may not be as familiar with collard greens. Just ask for insight on this vegetable from someone who knows about it and you’ll likely get an enthusiastic response. Collard greens have a unique smoky flavor that comes alive when lightly steamed with olive oil, onion, garlic and lemon and served as part of a main dish.

Much more familiar to most people is spinach. Raw spinach is a nutritional superstar! It’s got twice as much fiber as other greens and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. To make your spinach a little more interesting add your favorite healthy dressing. Consider mixing together olive oil, Dijon mustard, sea salt, ground pepper, lemon juice and pressed garlic to make your own delicious Cesar dressing. It will provide one of the tastiest toppings for your spinach salad. Sprinkle in any of your favorite vegetables like red peppers or even mix in flavorful lettuce like Arugula and you’ve got a delicious meal.

Since the Dijon mustard in your spinach Cesar salad will provide tremendous flavor why not look to the plant from which mustard originates. Mustard greens are very tasty and have an interesting peppery flavor. It’s no wonder their seeds have such a kick to them! Mustard seeds are of course used to make delicious Dijon mustard. To add this tasty element to your own recipes simply sauté mustard seeds and sprinkle then on casseroles, pasta salad and even sweet potatoes. The sharp flavor will add an interesting bite to your meal.