Powerhouse Greens!

by Sue Taggart

I love my greens, I always have! My mother had no problem getting me to eat cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, mustard greens… I always cleaned the greens right off my plate. I still try the vegetables first before anything else. My love of vegetables started at a very young age and I have never grown out of it. Potatoes are my first love (I mean who could possibly pass up sweet, tiny new potatoes with fresh mint and butter or a perfect baked spud and let’s not forget luscious potato galette or creamy garlic mashed potatoes and crispy French fries with just the right amount of salt…. Oh heaven!) but back to the greens.

When you have eaten fresh vegetables right from the garden, you have a really different appreciation for food. Flat beans crisp and succulent, sweet tiny fresh peas, creamy lima beans and crisp leafy greens – I mean really what’s not to like?

Greens are packed full of nutrients—so good for you, so good to eat, so just find ones you like, there are plenty to choose from. Here is a quick run down on greens you can find at your local farmers market or supermarket. It really doesn’t matter where you get them from, just get it on with the greens!

Powerhouse greens need not be intimidating. They can be the most versatile vegetables to cook with, from salads, stir fry’s and pizza toppings, to snacks, omelets and smoothies, dark leafy greens can rock your nutritional world.


Vitamins: K, A and C with 45 flavonoids.

Health Benefits: Combines antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help prevent bladder, colon, breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Good for brain function support.

Serving: A heartier version of spinach, kale can be a little bitter. Great in soups, stir-frys and as a side dish—just simmer for 20 minutes in a light chicken stock. And don’t forget Kale chips, so easy and so delicious!

Swiss Chard

Vitamins:  K, A and C as well as iron, protein, folate and fiber.

Health Benefits: Packed with phytonutrients that act as natural anti-inflammatories to help fight and prevent chronic inflammation and resulting diseases.

Serving: Milder than spinach, Swiss chard is best simply sautéed with a little oil and garlic.


Vitamins:  Eight times the calcium, five times the vitamin A, C and K and four times the iron as the same amount of iceberg lettuce, also packed full of fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium and protein!

Health Benefits: A great way to boost your defense system against heart disease, sun damage, osteoporosis and certain cancers

Serving: With its peppery flavor, arugula is a great way to punch up the flavor of salads, sandwiches as well as pizza, soups and sautés.

Brussel Sprouts

Vitamins:  An excellent source of vitamins K, C and A as well as vitamin B6, B2 and B1, iron, potassium, omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and calcium.

Health Benefits: Unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection, high phytonutrient content for cancer prevention and special cholesterol-lowering benefits.

Serving: A really versatile cruciferous vegetable, slightly sweet and when perfectly cooked are crisp and dense. Delicious steamed, sautéed and roasted.

Mustard Greens

Vitamins:  Packed with vitamins K, A and C together with heart healthy nutrients like fiber, folate, beta-carotene, potassium, and calcium.

Health Benefits: The high antioxidant content helps prevent free radical damage and the effects of aging and disease. It’s good for bone health too.

Serving: A peppery, pungent green that makes a great side dish or an addition to stir-frys and casseroles.

Collard Greens

Vitamins: C and K and an abundance of beta-carotene, calcium, iron antioxidants and high in fiber

Health Benefits: Improved circulation, strengthens the immune system,  improved liver and kidney function, cancer prevention as well as reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Serving: Intense flavor that adds depth to pasta and grains as well as a delicious side dish.


Vitamins: As much Vitamin C as oranges, calcium as milk and potassium as bananas—and a great source of iron and phytochemicals.

Health Benefits: Helps prevent many types of cancer including lung, colon and breast cancer. Helps regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol. It’s also a natural diuretic.

Serving: Subtle, peppery flavor it makes a great soup, terrific in salads and adds a perfect crunch in sandwiches and wraps.

Greens are some of the best colors you can put on your plate all year round. With such an abundance of different types to try, you are bound to find one that you love—experiment with flavors, textures and recipes. Such a simple way to pack a huge nutritional punch to everyday meals.

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