Love Your Leafy Greens

Leafy Green Vegetables

The fastest way to turn your diet around? To go from not-so-great to almost perfect? The answer is organic leafy greens – those life-supporting, health-inducing, nutrient-packed edibles that should take up most of the space on your plate at every meal – not just at dinnertime. Eat them or drink them, but just get them into your body every day – that’s my leafy green mantra, and I hope you will make it yours. Need a little more encouragement? Here’s the top-line low-down on my favorite health-promoters, the “leafys”:

Why Leafys?

It’s incredibly simple: they improve health – benefitting virtually every cell in your body! What’s so amazing about the leafys is that calorie for calorie, they deliver more nutrients than just about any other food on the planet. Loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, leafy greens give your body the artillery in needs to fight off potential killers like heart disease and cancer.

Meet The Leafys

My favorite leafy greens, from both a nutritional and taste standpoint, are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard and dandelion greens. You can toss them into virtually anything, as long as you give them a good washing first! Eaten raw or cooked, my favorite leafys (as well as many others in the leafy green family) add just-right doses of vitamin A, C, K, folate, potassium and calcium to every meal.

Coddle Your Leafys

As most leafy greens come straight out of the soil, the majority, if not all your leafys, should be organic. If price is a concern, combine organic with conventionally grown leafys, to reduce costs as well as the toxic load. Once you’ve gotten your leafys home from the market, don’t let them sit around in the crisper too long or they’ll start to loose some of their nutrients. To minimize nutrient loss, when cooking your leafys, be gentle and don’t overcook – do your steaming and sautéing as quickly as possible.

Leafys – Morning, Noon and Night

One way to boost your leafy green intake is to add a lot of them to your breakfast. Recently, during a stay on the West Coast, I was very pleasantly surprised by a room service veggie omelet that was stuffed with lightly steamed greens, and accompanied by a spinach side salad. It was a good reminder, even to a greens fanatic like me, that salad shouldn’t be limited to just lunch and dinner.

Sneak Them In, or Drink Them In

OK, so you’re not a huge salad eater? Not nuts for greens? Then, try upping your intake by basically tricking yourself into eating leafys. Start by dropping a few fistfuls into soups and tomato sauce or tucking a pile of greens under fish, chicken or grass-fed meat. You can also cut to the chase and just drink your greens by blending a few fist-full’s into your morning fruit smoothie. Short on time? Traveling without a blender? Then try my pre-measured powdered “greens-to-go” for the perfect caffeine-free, crash-proof way to start the day.  They come in convenient single serving packets, are delicious and tasty and you can take them wherever you go.

Go green!

  • Carry

    Dr. Lipman,

    I’m in such a quandary.  I am a smoothie/ juice person — could live on them.  They’re fast, easy and you can add anything to them.  The problem is, I have Hashimotos.  I’ve been reading so much, lately, that says I shouldn’t do cruciferous veggies any more.  What leafy greens does that leave me with for juices and smoothies?  Do I really have to give them up?  Please, please advise those of us with thyroid diseases.

  • susan

    I have lupus and fibromyalgia and also have heard not to do cruciferous vegetables. Please Dr. Lipman reply to this concern.

  • Dana Eden

    Go green indeed. Love your advice. thanks for a informative post

  • Michele – The Diet Myth

    Thank you for this reminder about leafy greens. I find its more challenging to get them in during the winter but love your suggestions and will incorporate three times a day.