Eat your greens.
You've heard it all your life, but now there's more than your mom's wagging finger to persuade you. In the age of "super foods," a growing body of evidence shows that dark leafy greens really are superheroes.
Consider spinach, probably the nation's best-selling "cooking" green and a prime example of a nutrient-packed staple. Dr. Stephen G. Pratt, author of "SuperFoods RX," offers a succinct summation of its benefits:
"Beyond the iron that Popeye was yearning for, spinach contains carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamin K, coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, polyphenols, betaine and -- interestingly -- plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids. This is a condensed list, and it's hard to convey the powerful impact of these nutrients as they work synergistically to promote health."
And there's plenty of variety beyond spinach. Kale, dandelion, collard, turnip and mustard greens are familiar to most -- but what about Swiss chard, bok choy, curly endive, beet greens and broccoli rabe? Add 1 cup of any of those cooked greens to your diet three times per week, and benefits may abound:
In general, greens are rich storehouses of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Separately and in combination with other dietary elements, these nutrients improve health and vitality as well as combat an array of diseases, including several forms of cancer and atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.