Eat More Leafy Greens
If there is one food that every health guru around the world agrees we should eat more of, it is leafy greens. Calorie for calorie, they are probably the most nutrient-concentrated food on Earth.
Popeye attempted to convince kids to eat their spinach for big biceps, however the truth is you would struggle to put on a gram of weight even with eating a huge mound every day. While they may not be the food muscles are made of, they win hands down being the food you can eat as much as you like of and stay trim (and get a tonne of nutrients at the same time).
Due to their high fibre and water content, leafy greens have negligible amounts of the macronutrients fat, protein and carbohydrate. So they offer next to nothing in terms of calories, yet take up space on the plate (and in your stomach). Thus they’re great for bulking out meals and filling up on without adding extra calories.
However the main reason I’m recommending we should all eat more leafy greens is for their abundance of micronutrients – all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our modern Western diet is often lacking. Leafy greens offer an abundance of toxin and free-radical fighting antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins C and K, lutein and are our best source of folate (an important B vitamin, particularly for pregnant women). The latter is not surprising given that the word ‘folate’ is derived from the Latin word ‘foliage‘ meaning “green leaf”.
Leafy greens are best raw, quickly steamed or stir-fried to minimise nutrient loss, as a large amount of their nutrition comes from water-soluble vitamins that leach out and dissolve in water (so if you’re boiling them it wouldn’t do you harm to drink the vegetable water too!). Water-soluble vitamins are also readily excreted from the body which means we need to have a regular intake of them, i.e. ideally daily! (so make sure you check out my Everyday Green Smoothie recipe!).
The recipes below are all great ways to pack some more leafy greens into your diet in a delicious way that the family will love. It’s quite amazing how much spinach gets used in the Chicken Saagwala sauce! The Silverbeet chicken soup is one of my go-to meals when the Winter blues start kicking in – it will warm you from the inside out and make you feel very nourished!
To be doing what I am today is a dream come true. It all started when I was 12 years old. I was watching TV after school one day and Jamie Oliver was cooking up a storm on The Naked Chef.