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When you eat the rainbow, you get a rainbow of nutrients, so each month, we’re offering up 10 ways to eat foods of a different color. With both St. Patty’s Day and spring just around the corner, what better color to focus on than green? March is also National Nutrition Month and this year the focus is eating a variety of colors, so be sure to check out some yummy orange and red-colored foods, too.
What Green Foods Have To Offer
Chlorophyll, a green pigment found in the leaves of plants, gives foods their green hue. Green colored fruits and veggies contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals — plant compounds that help fight disease. Make these 10 a part of your healthy diet.
This ancient symbol of fertility is packed with vitamin C, folate and potassium. According to the USDA’s top 100 antioxidant-filled foods, cooked artichokes ranked seventh!
Recipe: Stuffed Artichokes
This green veggie is an excellent source folate and thiamin and a good source of fiber, iron, vitamin C and beta-carotene . It also contains the plant compound asparagine which has a diuretic effect and causes that funky odor in urine after you eat asparagus.
Recipe: Smoked Turkey-Wrapped Asparagus
This fruit is packed with heart-loving monounsaturated fat. It also contains a plethora of other healthy stuff including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium and the antioxidant lutein. Keep calories under control by limiting serving size to about one-fifth of an avocado, or about 50 calories.
Recipe: Crab and Avocado Salad
This veggie is part of the cruciferous (cabbage) family and a close relative to cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Veggies from this family contain plant compounds that have been shown to help fight cancer.
Recipe: Orange-Scented Broccoli and Cauliflower
Also part of the cruciferous vegetable family, this veggie is a great source of vitamins A and C and has a fair amount of iron.
Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
This sweet and juicy melon is perfect in smoothies, soups and salads. It’s a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which helps with healthy skin and hair.
Recipe: Melon Smoothies
Also part of the cabbage family, kale is one of our favorite winter veggies here at Healthy Eats. It’s packed with vitamins A and C along with folic acid, iron and calcium and can be substituted for spinach in practically any recipe.
Recipe: Potato-Kale Soup
Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, this bright green gem contains more vitamin C than any other fruit. They’re also high in fiber, potassium and vitamin E and various phytochemical such as lutein and anthocyanin. (links)
Recipe: Radiance Fruit Salad
More acidic and tart than lemons, these babies are packed with antioxidants including flavonol glycosides shown to help prevent hardening of the arteries and help fight cancer.
Good things come in small packages—especially when you’re talking about green peas. A quarter-cup of cooked peas contains 130 calories, 10 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. They contain some iron and zinc and are a good source of heart healthy potassium and folate.
Recipe: Split Pea Burgers
TELL US: How do you get your daily dose of green?
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »
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