While Popeye’s bulging biceps after eating a can of spinach (leafy greens) is simply a cartoon point of the cartoon giving the character superhuman strength, there is something that resonates about this iconic image.
Of course, we can’t see how our muscles will automatically bloat when we eat iron-rich vegetables, but our bodies will certainly feel better if we incorporate them into our diet.
Vegetables are one of the best foods to eat regularly; They are rich in fiber and contain many vitamins, minerals and plant substances. They contain nutrients that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “help protect against heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer“.
And that’s not all. A 2018 study found that people who eat one to two servings of green vegetables per day may have fewer memory problems and other cognitive disorders. A study conducted by the Memory and Aging Project at Washington University in St. Louis showed that people who added 1.3 servings of these leaves to their diet daily reduced the rate of cognitive decline to some extent. They were also 11 years younger (compared to those who didn’t eat vegetables). And that’s just one of many studies.
Leafy greens (a broad term for leaves used as vegetables) are low in carbohydrates, sodium, fat and cholesterol. And as we continue to learn, a diet rich in vegetables is also good for the planet. With this in mind, there is nothing wrong with eating more leafy greens and vegetables in general.
Some leafy greens
Once found almost exclusively in European markets, arugula first appeared in the United States as a complement to more luxurious dishes, but has grown in popularity over the years.
It is easily recognized by its small, flat, toothed leaves, long stem, and often spicy flavor. It is mainly used in salads but can also be cooked. It’s a popular accompaniment to pizza, where the herby, spicy crunch pairs perfectly with the cheese and tomatoes.
Arugula contains about 8 times more calcium, 5 times more vitamins A, C and K and 4 times more iron than the same amount of lettuce.
If it is too spicy for your taste, you can mix it with other types of green leaves to tone down the taste.
We know beets primarily for their beautiful red beet roots, which are sweet, earthy, and very versatile. But don’t forget the leaves, they taste a little like radishes with a slightly bittersweet note and are perfect for steaming or frying.
Although the tubers can be stored in a cool place for a while, the green leaves wilt more quickly and should be eaten as soon as possible.
To use the leaves, remove them from the roots to prevent them from wilting, then remove the thick stems and veins from the leaves.
If you decide to use the leaf, remember that it comes from agroecological cultivation to avoid exposure to pesticides that could harm your health.
Although long considered a nuisance weed, dandelion is a noble and cheerful plant, delicious, versatile and one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can eat.
In addition to their numerous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they have long been valued for their medicinal properties.
They are rich in potassium and have a strong diuretic effect. They have long been used to treat digestive disorders as well as arthritis and eczema.
And did we mention they taste good? The more mature leaves can be bitter, but they are worth it. You can add them raw to salads, fry them, or use them to make pancakes. The yellow flowers can also be eaten and add a special touch to your dishes.
At some point in history, kale went from ugly duckling to prom queen, and now it’s so trendy that it’s known as a superfood almost everywhere in the world.
This vegetable is a source of nutrients, rich in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants recommended by health experts. Although its taste is often classified as bitter, it is actually slightly smoky but not overly bitter and becomes sweeter in the winter months.
You can eat this kale in salads by finely chopping the young leaves or sautéing them briefly until cooked. Seasoning with garlic and vegetable broth will be a treat. You can also prepare a kind of green cream to spread over the pasta.
Spinach, one of our most valuable and popular vegetables, is a superfood like no other. And while its iron content is constantly debated, its benefits go far beyond what made Popeye a tough sailor.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A as well as vitamin C and folic acid; and the most important thing is that it is easily accessible. Spinach comes in a variety of forms, from small, delicate young leaves to large, thick, wrinkled, mature leaves, and is available all year round.
The young leaves are soft and can be used in salads or for quick sautéing, while the more fibrous leaves have a rich flavor and a wonderfully chewy texture. Look for dark green, plump leaves with no spots or discoloration.
It’s a good idea to wash all these leafy greens thoroughly and even let them soak in vinegar for a few minutes.
Of course, there are many other leafy vegetables that offer great benefits to your diet, such as chard, watercress, cabbage, turnip greens, mustard greens, chicory and bok choy. It’s about finding out which ones you like best and which ones you can best incorporate into your diet.
With information from: