Being that it's March and almost St. Patrick's Day, everyone is decked out in green and looking to find some luck. Instead of wasting calories on Shamrock Shakes or Kegs and Eggs, try these greens to get the boost you really need this St. Patty's Day.
Kale has recently been praised for being the superfood of all superfoods and it certainly does earn that title. Packed with calcium and vitamins A, C, K and B6, kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the market. Getting your fill of this leafy green will help reduce your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
If salads aren't your thing or green smoothies make your skin crawl, try kale chips. They are perfect for snacking and are easy to take on-the-go for a St. Patrick's Day party. Satisfy your salty cravings while getting a hefty dose of vitamins along with it.
Spinach is another nutrient dense leafy green that offers more health benefits than I can count. A serving of spinach will provide you with folic acid, iron and calcium, as well as vitamins A, C and K1. These nutrients help tackle harmful free radicals, moderate blood pressure and promote eye health.
Move over Popeye, there are tons of ways to incorporate spinach into your diet . What's a better way to win a crowd over than with a delicious and nutritious hors d'oeuvre? Try these spinach artichoke dip bites - they taste way better than any supplement out there.
Broccoli is one of the vegetables to eat to keep you feeling fuller for longer because of the high fiber content and low amount of digestible carbs. This promotes gut health, helps prevent diseases and is linked to weight loss. Broccoli's vitamin content combined with its high amount of folate and iron make it crucial in the fight against heart disease.
Although the healthiest ways to eat broccoli are when it's roasted in olive oil or steamed, there are plenty of alternative ways to prepare it to your liking. Broccoli is a staple in many Chinese takeout meals and Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup will cure any post St. Patrick's Day slump.
4. Brussel Sprouts
If you ask me, Brussel sprouts are one of the more intimidating vegetables, but its time to face your fears because they have health benefits that you don't want to miss.
Their vitamin C content will help promote your immune system as well as healthy skin, teeth and gums - think of it as a glow-up you can eat. The high amount of fiber combined with the high folate levels will decrease your risk for heart disease by regulating your GI trace and reducing your homocysteine levels.
Brussel sprouts have a bad rep for being less than delicious, but you should give them a fair shot. Chopping a few sprouts and roasting them in olive oil and garlic is the simplest way to go, but check out these recipes because everything is better with bacon.
Arugula contains powerful compounds called isothiocyanates and indoles, which help inhibit cancer development by protecting DNA from damage, inducing death in cancerous cells and preventing tumor blood vessel formation.
On top of this, its high vitamin K content helps keep your heart, bones and skin healthy. Arugula is low calorie and high in nutrients, which is key for weight loss and continuing to live a healthy life.
Next time you're feeling bad and boujee, but still need your weekly pizza fix, skip the pepperoni and order arugula as a topping. If you ask me pizza is the best way to eat your veggies. If you're on a tight budget, but still want give arugula pizza a shot, try this recipe at home
6. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine is often overlooked when thinking of superfoods because of its high water content, but in reality it is an excellent source of vitamins A and K, folate, fiber and potassium. These are essential for maintaining a healthy heart by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol and binding to bile salts to excrete them from the body.
Use romaine lettuce in place of buns for burgers and tortillas for tacos and wraps. Replacing these sources of refined carbs with nutrient rich romaine will help keep your blood sugar regulated and add some extra crunch to your meal.
7. Bell Green Pepper
Bell peppers are exceptionally rich sources of vitamin C, which helps increase iron absorption. This protects against anemia when bell peppers are eaten with iron rich foods. They also contain high levels of vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant in the body to protect your nerves and muscles from free radicals.
Raw peppers are perfect for dipping in hummus or ranch for a healthy snack. They are also an appetizer (or dinner) favorite because they can be stuffed with just about anything. Try these Refried Bean Bell Pepper Poppers to shake up your Taco Tuesdays.
St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and although these veggies certainly fit the color scheme, they are important to work into your diet all year long. This weekend is for celebrating (or make-believing) your Irish heritage, so if you're looking for a more party-worthy treat check out this recipe.