Do you need more green in your life, but you’re tired of the same old green vegetables you always serve? Shake up your dinner plate and give it more nutrition by trying something new. Here are five not so typical green vegetables that are loaded with health benefits.
Kohlrabi is a relative of cabbage that looks like a turnip, but when you cook it, it has a cabbage-like taste with a hint of nut. Raw, it tastes more like broccoli. Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica group of vegetables, a veggie group that’s known for their anti-cancer benefits, and kohlrabi is no exception. It contains sulforaphanes and indoles that help to balance estrogen and lower the risk of some types of cancer, particularly breast and prostate cancer. Plus, it’s an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber and potassium. To enjoy its health benefits, grate fresh kohlrabi into salads or add it to coleslaw. You can also lightly steam it. Then season it lightly with butter and your favorite herbs and spices.
This earthy green veggie belongs to the same family as spinach and beets, but, unlike most greens, it’s quick to prepare. Simply remove the stems and sauté the leaves as you would spinach. Use this leafy green as a substitute for spinach – in omelets, as a pizza topping, in soups or with pasta. Swiss chard is rich in antioxidants and a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Broccolini: A Green Vegetable That’s Sweeter Than Broccoli
Broccoli is broccoli’s sweeter cousin with slimmer stalks and smaller florets. It’s actually a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli but has a taste that faintly resembles asparagus. Another member of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccolini deserves a place on your dinner plate not only for its taste but for its health benefits. Like broccoli, it’s loaded with natural chemicals that keep cancer in check. Plus, it’s brimming with vitamins A, C, K, folate, and minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium. Saute it with garlic and olive oil to enhance its taste and increase absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins it contains.
Baby Bok Choy
Bok choy is a type of cabbage popular in Asian countries. With a mild, sweet taste, you’ll enjoy it even if you aren’t a big fan of cabbage. That’s a good thing because bok choy is loaded with the same cancer-fighting chemicals that make cabbage and broccoli such superstars. Plus, it’s an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron. Saute it with garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes or add it to soups and stir-fries. At 20 calories a serving, you can eat it without guilt.
Arugula: A Green Vegetable That Protects Your Eyes
Pump up the nutritional power of your salads by eating arugula. Arugula is another member of the star-studded cruciferous family of vegetables. In addition to its anti-cancer benefits, it’s a rich source of carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein that may reduce the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Use it where you would normally use lettuce – in salads and on sandwiches. Its dark green leaves have a higher nutritional content than lettuce. How about a wilted arugula and pear salad? The sweetness of the pears meshes nicely with the slightly bitter taste of the arugula leaves.
The Bottom Line?
Give your taste buds a new sensation by adding these five unique green veggies to your plate, and enjoy their many health benefits.
World’s Healthiest Foods website.
Nutrition Action. October 2011.
Self Nutrition Data.