Why Leafy Greens Should Be Part Of Every Meal

On my continuing quest to live healthier, I find an article like this below really fascinating. I am a firm believer that the more colorful your plate full of plants is at every meal, the better in terms of getting a broad spectrum of nutrients out of every whole food. It’s not really a surprise though to find that the top most nutritious vegetables/fruits are mostly leafy greens. My next mission: to add 1 more serving of greens to every meal. (I always get multiple servings with dinner, between the entree, side, and/or salad.) That means both of my Shaklee 180 breakfast and lunch Energizing Smoothees will get some leafy greens mixed in with whatever else my recipe for the day calls for too. One of my nephews requested over the weekend while sleeping over that I add both pineapple and spinach to his banana Smoothee. He’s already onto something and he’s only 4 years old! “We’re constantly bombarded by headlines hawking this fruit or that vegetable as being a “powerhouse,” but what does that moniker really mean? Are all plant foods created equal? What’s really healthier, an apple or a banana? Answering these question is a tricky endeavor—much depends on a given individual’s dietary and health needs. For a person plagued with low potassium, adding a banana a day might do the trick, but for those in need of iron and vitamin C, kale may actually be a better option. In an effort to cut down on the confusion, Jennifer Di Noia, associate professor of sociology at William Patterson University took data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and used it to determine the overall nutritional content of 47 different fruits and vegetables. Given that cooking can adulterate the nutrient content of certain foods, Di Noia analyzed each fruit or vegetable in its raw form, measuring the levels of 17 key nutrients identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine as being highly-important for health maintenance: protein, calcium, fiber, thiamin, potassium, niacin, zinc, riboflavin, folate, iron and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K. Her analysis yielded 41 “powerhouse” foods—defined as offering at least 10 percent of the daily recommended value of each nutrient in a 100 calorie serving (based on 2,000 calorie diet). Here’s the list of top fruits and vegetables, in order: 1. Watercress 2. Chinese cabbage 3. Chard 4. Beet green 5. Spinach 6. Chicory 7. Leaf lettuce 8. Parsley 9. Romaine lettuce 10. Collard green 11. Turnip green 12. Mustard green 13. Endive 14. Chive 15. Kale 16. Dandelion green 17. Red pepper 18. Arugula 19. Broccoli 20. Pumpkin 21. Brussels sprout 22. Scallion 23. Kohlrabi 24. Cauliflower 25. Cabbage 26. Carrot 27. Tomato 28. Lemon 29. Iceberg lettuce 30. Strawberry 31. Radish 32. Winter squash (all varieties) 33. Orange 34. Lime 35. Grapefruit (pink and red) 36. Rutabaga 37. Turnip 38. Blackberry 39. Leek 40. Sweet potato 41. Grapefruit (white) The six foods that didn’t make the cut for the “powerhouse” list: garlic, tangerine, onion, blueberry, cranberry and raspberry. That’s not to say that these items are unhealthy, or that they don’t provide potential health benefits, they simply weren’t as nutritionally dense as the other 41 foods. Di Noia emphasizes that her analysis is not the final word on what fruits and vegetables are the healthiest—there are other foods out there that could be considered “powerhouses” of other nutrients—but she says, “expressing the nutrient desirability of foods in terms of the energy they provide may help focus consumers on their daily energy needs and getting the most nutrient-dense items within the powerhouse group.”” From “41 Fruits and Veggies Earn ‘Powerhouse’ Label from Experts” By AgingCare.com

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