Dark Green Vegetables: A Nutritional Powerhouse
So we all know that vegetables are good for us right? and the more we eat the better. The dietary guidelines tell us we should be eating 5 serves everyday (1 serve is half a cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of salads) with some suggesting this is a bit light on & we should be eating even more!
Just as important as the total amount we eat is the variety of veggies we include. A good test to do is the next time you sit down to your evening meal look for at least 3-4 different colored vegetables on your plate. Each colour represents a set of unique nutritional characteristics and so the more colours there are the more diversity of vitamins and mineral we get. And to state the bleeding obvious diversity is a good thing!
The Winning Colour Is…
One important color that is often missing from our meals is dark green. Yes that’s right, dark green leafy veggies don’t exactly set the tastebuds alight but they do offer tremendous health benefits due to the nutrients they own. Iron, vitamin K, calcium, folate, potassium, vitamin D, antioxidants and phytochemicals just to name a few.
Why Nutritional Density Is Important
A general rule of thumb is the more nutrient dense our diet the healthier it is. This is true as long as the majority of our nutrients are from natural, wholesome foods, rather than supplemented and fortified foods. Calorie for calorie, dark green veggies are the most nutrient dense foods available! Every vegetable would love to have that on their resume! Therefore an easy way to increase the nutrient density of your diet is to add more dark green leafy vegetables. Examples include spinach, kale, swiss chard, bock choy and romaine lettuce.
Try to include at least 3 serves of dark green leafy vegetables every week. Remember that a serve is equal to 1 full cup of salads. Easy ways to add them are in salads and stir-fry’s.