Most of us think about summer as the time to indulge in fresh fruit and produce but fall also offers an abundance of tasty plants. One of my favorite ways to dive into the bounty of fall is by munching on all the fresh greens. Kale, spinach and Swiss chard are three of my favorites.
Kale enjoyed its time as the darling of the superfood world for a while. Even though it has waned in popularity, I still think its abundance of health benefits make it worthwhile addition to your diet. Kale is rich in the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid which is helpful in the fight against diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose levels. Kale’s high level of Vitamin K is important for bone health. Kale is high in water and fiber both important for digestion.
I was one of those strange kids who loved spinach. I would eat it whenever possible. At the time, I didn’t realize all its health benefits and was just focused on the taste. However, study after study has shown that a diet rich in spinach lowers your risk of prostate, ovarian, breast, bladder and stomach cancers. Antioxidants in spinach have been shown to decrease the normal cognitive and motor declines that come with aging. (Eat spinach with fat to increase antioxidant and vitamin absorption.) Spinach is a good source of iron and vitamin C, which will help with the iron absorption. Spinach is also high in folate, important in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function. Spinach is a low calorie nutritional powerhouse that can be a major component of a healthy diet.
I am fairly new to eating chard but have come to love it as a tasty addition to soups and stews. I also love that it is packed with vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc and potassium. It seems it is so nutrient rich because it is very good at pulling vitamins and minerals from the soil up into its leaves. Chard is rich in the flavonoid vitexin which can be important in the fight against cancer. Chard’s low glycemic index rating and wide mix of B-vitamins are helpful in the processing of sugars and other carbohydrates, making it a potential tool in the fight against diabetes.
These are just three of the leafy greens that the world has to offer. Which one is your favorite?