Stacy Beeson, RD, LD
St Luke’s Health Solutions Registered Dietitian
MARCH 17th, 2008:
Green Foods for Your Health
Celebrate Green with Vegetables! Wearing green may help prevent you from getting pinched, but eating green is a better defense mechanism. Green is associated with good health because the pigment in green foods, chlorophyll, is linked to many beneficial phytochemicals. Green foods hold a mother lode of phytochemicals. Therefore, you’ll find good luck when you choose green foods.
These are natural plant chemicals that have health-promoting effects in humans. There are thousands of phytochemicals. The phytochemicals help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, enhance your immune system, may help slow the aging process, help maintain healthy eyes and may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
A Few of the Phytochemicals in Green Foods:
Sulphoraphane breaks down into isothiocyanates and indoles when cooked or chewed.
These compounds may suppress tumor development, boost the body’s cancer-fighting
ability, and act as antioxidants to keep cells healthy and undamaged by oxygen.
Lutein: May protect eye health by reducing the risk of cataracts and macular
degeneration, which can cause loss of vision, and also may reduce some forms of cancer.
Beta Carotene: May help slow the aging process, may improve lung function, may
reduce problems related to type 2 diabetes.
Cruciferous Vegetables – The Cabbage Family and Close Relative
Broccolini– Cabbage family member, a cross between Chinese kale and broccoli. Looks like baby broccoli with thin and narrow stem and florets. Consume the whole broccolini raw or cooked, also add to pasta. You can also try brocco-slaw, brocco-flower or Broccoli-Wokly which is already chopped broccoli.
Brussels Sprouts – Look like miniature cabbages. Dense and crunchy in texture. Use whole brussels for shish kebabs: steam briefly and thread on a skewer with meat or steam them in small amount of water, halved or cooked whole, and toss with a vinaigrette.
Swiss Chard – Member of the beet family. Swiss Chard is best eaten cooked, unless it is young and tender. Chop stems and leaves, sauté in olive oil and use as filling for omelets. Add shredded swiss chard to soups and stews or bake fish fillets wrapped in it.
Collard Greens – Member of the cabbage family. Drop the whole green into a pot of boiling water (blanch) and cook until just wilted. This softens them so sautéing is easier. Sauté in a bit of olive oil and add lemon and garlic or steam in a bit of low-sodium chicken broth and add margarine spread and lemon juice.
**People taking blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin should avoid large servings of cooked greens like kale and swiss chard, and broccoli and brussel sprouts, due to their high levels of Vitamin K.
GREEN STIR-FRY RECIPE
Broccoli Orange Peanut Stir-Fry
4 Tablespoons reduced-fat chunky peanut butter
3 Tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ginger
juice and zest of ½ orange
sprinkling of chopped peanuts
1, 12-ounce bag pre-cut Broccoli Wokly
1, 12-ounce bag Broccoli Slaw
Add the sauce ingredients to a sauté pan and turn it to low heat until the peanut butter melts. Dump the broccoli bags into the sauce, stir and cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes. The sauce becomes more liquid, the longer it cooks. Offer the dish with a number of different grain choices: couscous, bulgur, quinoa or basmati rice. Serves 4. Nutrition information per serving: 345 calories, 8 fat (21% fat), 1.5 g saturated fat, 14 g protein, 56 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 550 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol.
For nutrition questions, contact St Luke’s Health Solutions dietitian, Stacy Beeson at 381-2403.