Thursday, June 20, 2024

Leafy Greens for Anti-Aging


I like leafy greens, but I often overlook eating them. They are in season, and the farmer's markets are bursting with early summer leafy greens (kale, dandelion greens, lettuces, spinach, etc.). I did a little research on their benefits. Wow! They are extremely beneficial and well worth eating! Here is what I found out. 

Eating leafy greens may give you more energy, stronger bones, contribute to better eye health and heart health. If that is not enough,

Vitamin K ,which is found abundantly in leafy greens, is associated with maintaining healthy blood vessels, lessening the risk of heart problems, and preventing bone loss with aging. Also studies indicate that vitamin K is important  for eye health and reducing the incidence of age-related dementia." (source)
 It seems logical to try to eat a generous portion or two of leafy greens daily (I'm going to try) to help our bodies cleanse out unwanted toxins and reap the benefits of boosted energy while fortifying our bones, eye and heart health!!!


Why Do Leafy Greens Boost Energy?

"Chlorophyll, the green pigment found in green plants, absorbs energy from the sun during the process of photosynthesis. This energy becomes available to us when we eat dark greens." - makes sense!!
Now knowing all this, I loaded up on greens this week at the farmer's market. My intention is to eat some everyday!! 

Look how GREEN these salad fixings are

Here's what I bought this week at the farmer's market.

  •  Dandelions greens
  •  a hearty head of kale
  •  a crisp romaine lettuce 
  •  some fragrant beautiful delicate dill
  •  crunchy escarole 
  •  some amazing sugar-snap peas that were sweet as sugar. 

We ate them raw as a snack!



dandelion greens
Dandelion Greens 

 In my research, I also found out that greens provide valuable nutrients for all ages, but are especially important for us as we age into senior years.  Here's is the facts!

1. Fresh Early Summer Kale: Known as a nutritional powerhouse, kale is rich in vitamins A, C, K, and many minerals-as well as fiber and mucho antioxidants. Its sturdy leaves make it ideal for salads, smoothies, and even kale chips. 

2. Dandelion Greens: Often overlooked, dandelion greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, including substantial calcium and iron. Their slightly bitter flavor adds complexity to salads and pairs beautifully with citrusy vinaigrettes. 

.3. Green Romaine Lettuce: Crisp and refreshing, romaine lettuce is a staple in salads and wraps. It's low in calories but high in vitamin C, K, & folate as well as minerals calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, making it a great choice for maintaining overall health. 

4. Dill: This aromatic herb not only enhances the flavor of dishes but also offers antibacterial properties and a good dose of vitamin A and C. Use dill to flavor salads, soups, dressings, and potatoes. 

5. Basil: With its sweet, slightly peppery flavor, basil is a versatile herb that complements tomatoes, Italian recipes, makes a wonderful pesto, and adds a kick to salads. It contains essential oils that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

6. Escarole: Similar to lettuce but a little chewier (more fiber) and with a more robust flavor, escarole is rich in folate, fiber, and vitamins A and K as well as valuable minerals and antioxidants. It can be used raw in salads or cooked in soups and stir-fries.

Don't forget about these other powerhouse greens:  collard greens, mustard greens, arugula, cilantro, spring mix, etc. 

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Why Buying Organic May Be More Important Than You Think

Choosing organic greens from your local farmer's market ensures not only superior taste but also numerous health benefits. Organic farming practices minimize exposure to synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and Round Up, making organic produce somewhat safer and healthier choices for you and for the environment. In addition, organic produce is NOT genetically modified! Supporting local farmers helps reduce your carbon footprint as well.

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Here are some ideas for using those leafy greens!

  • Green Smoothies: Blend kale or dandelion greens with fruits like mango and banana for a refreshing and nutrient-packed breakfast or snack! My favorite green smoothie recipe is packed with baby spinach greens and not sweet but delicious. Kind of like a V-8 vegetable drink- but made fresh recipe link for smoothie.

  •  Salads: Combine romaine, escarole, or other lettuces with simple herbs such as basil and dill,  I always love some fresh mint in my salads too.

  • Pesto Perfection: Whip up a classic basil pesto or experiment with dandelion greens for a unique twist. Toss with pasta or use as a marinade for grilled vegetables. I tried making pesto without oil and it just didn't work for me, so pesto is too caloric for me. If you do eat pesto, make your own for best flavor.

  • Savory Soups: Create a comforting escarole and white bean soup flavored with garlic and thyme, or a kale and potato soup.

    *Of course you can just steam them or sauté them for a quick side dish which is what I did yesterday and ate some wilted kale (ribs removed) with my breakfast- a great start for the day!!

     

    Here are a few other tasty ideas!!

    kale and blueberry salad 

    I love this combination for a delicious super kale salad. 

    The blueberries are sweet and the kale is a slightly tart. The seeds give it a crunch and the dressing brings it all together.   Kale and Blueberry Salad with orange dressing  (recipe link)

    I would definitely call this a summer soup. Why? It is light as opposed to hearty and heavy and although eaten hot, it uses summer greens and fresh or frozen green peas. It's delicious.  Spring Green Pea Soup  (not dried split peas) (recipe linkThis very quick and easy soup is made with romaine lettuce (I know crazy but tastes great) and green peas (you can use frozen). Makes a light summery soup!

    Pea soup in a cup
    Romaine lettuce and fresh pea soup - amazing

    Escarole is something I don't use very often, but I should. It really tastes good in a salad, adding a slightly different taste. However, escarole is often used in soups, especially Italian soups.

    Italian Escarole Soup  (recipe link)

    Calls for a head of escarole with lots of fresh garlic. Tastes great.

    escarole soup, oil-free soup, gluten=free soup

    Who likes to make salad everyday? Not me. That is why I depend on making a salad and storing it in individual mason jars that last for 5 days, which means 5 days of salad for 2 of us with just 1 prep!! Yay!!

    Mason Jar Salad Prep ( recipe link)

    If you have no time to make salads, make your salad once a week and store it in Mason Jars. Enjoy fresh crispy salad all week! The recipe link tells you how. (recipe link)

    large salad 

    How about you? 

    Are you conscious of including lots of leafy greens in your diet? Which greens are your favorite and how to you make them?

    Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor. The information on this blog is strictly for educational purposes. Always consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet. 




20 comments:

  1. I grow kale and basil…instant salad if I could get to liking kale raw. Even cooked I haven’t developed a liking for it.

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    1. Kale is strong. I like it when I use small batches, remove the rib, tear it up, and let it wilt in hot soup.

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  2. Replies
    1. Yes, the farmer's fields are full of lettuce right now!

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  3. I love leafy greens. Especially arugula, dandelion and all of the different types of lettuce. We eat salads a LOT so I guess we're doing well.

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    1. Arugula is supposed to be really good for you. I like it but never think to buy it- It's on my list for this week!~

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  4. I have a large serving of spinach every day, but as it's iffy to find at the farmer's market and the grocery store's quality is often questionable we buy it at Sam's Club.

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    1. When I am in Florida for the winter I can only get produce in the supermarket. It is not the same as fresh grown from the farms that I get here in the summer.

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  5. this contains so much great information!! i don't love kale, especially raw when it it best to eat it. i LOVE salads and also grow a lot of basil and dill!! my garden is small but doing very well!!

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    1. Kale had to really grow on me. I find it's not my first choice but I try to get some in during the summer months from I can get it fresh from the farmer's market.

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  6. Hi and thanks for visiting my blog! I'm so happy you did. It's nice to meet someone else who is also very health conscious and into organic foods. I picked up a large bunch of kale at the farmer's market yesterday which I plan to roast and turn into kale chips - we love those. Your kale and blueberry salad looks delicious! I love organic blueberries and eat them most every day. Usually I add them to my smoothie, but I also like them just by the handful!

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    1. I find that I do best getting in some kale and blueberries with a smoothie too. Thanks for coming over to check out my blog. Hope you will be back. I signed up to follow yours!

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  7. What a timely post! I love salads filled with those greens and basil and dill are two of my fave herbs. I use spinach all the time in egg dishes and pastas, too!

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    1. Good for you Jeanie- greens are really an important part of a healthy diet. I need to be more conscientious getting them into my meals.

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  8. After reading I am longing to eat some of your salads, yummy! TFS, hugs, Valerie

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    1. The weather here is near 100 degrees this week. Salads are perfect

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  9. Leafy greens are very good for you. When I go for my annual appointment with my eye doctor, he always reminds me to eat a lot of them because they are so good for your eyes. I’m a big fan of peas as well, and that soup looks delicious. I also love the cup and saucer that you used to serve it.

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  10. I always have greens in the fridge and freezer. A soup of beans and greens is a favorite made with escarole or kale. Karen (Back Road Journal)

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  11. Great post filled with important information. There was a study of middle-aged women in relation to eating spinach and bone breakage. Those who ate spinach daily had a much fewer broken bones from falls. Eat your greens!

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Your comments are appreciated. I love knowing who is stopping by to read my posts! Have a great day.

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