Here is the lineup of the all-star, nutrient-rich team of power (leafy) greens:
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard, Collard and Dandelion Greens
I am going to focus today's post on Spinach and Arugula and will do later posts on the remaining greens.
I despised spinach growing up. The only way I had seen it on a plate was opened up from a can (or in the frozen creamed version). Do you remember those cans with Popeye on them? They looked like this:
Did you know that one cup of spinach contains your daily requirements of vitamins K and A and almost all of the manganese and folate your body needs? It also provides about 40% of your daily magnesium requirement. It is a great source of over 20 different measurable nutrients: these include fiber, calcium and protein. That one cup only has 40 calories, so it is excellent for those who are trying to lose weight.
My favorite way to eat spinach is by coupling it with Arugula (also called salad rocket) and making it into a delicious salad. Arugula is a delicious and nutritious peppery green that belongs in the same family as mustard greens and cauliflower. From the site, nutrition-and-you.com, arugula provides an immense amount of health benefits:
- As in other greens, arugula is one of very low calorie vegetable. 100 g of fresh leaves provides just 25 calories. Nonetheless, it has many vital phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can immensely benefit health.
- Salad rocket has an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a measure of anti-oxidant strength) of about 1904 µmol TE per 100 grams.
- Rocket salad is rich source of certain phytochemicals such as indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane, andisothiocyanates. Together, they have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of estrogen and thus help benefit against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
- In addition, di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a lipid soluble metabolite of indole has immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties ( by potentiating Interferon-Gamma receptors and production). DIM has currently been found application in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and is in Phase III clinical trials for cervical dysplasia.
- Fresh rocket is a very good source of folates. 100 g of fresh greens contain 97 µg or 24% of folic acid. When given to the anticipant mothers during their conception time, folate helps prevent neural tube defects in the newborns.
- Like kale, salad rocket is an excellent source of vitamin A. 100 g fresh leaves contain 1424 µg of beta-carotene, and 2373 IU of vitamin A. Carotenes convert into vitamin A in the body. Studies found that vitamin A and flavonoid compounds in green leafy vegetables help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.
- This vegetable also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid those are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.
- Fresh rocket leaves contain good levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful, natural anti-oxidant. Foods rich in this vitamin help the body protect from scurvy disease; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- Salad rocket is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 90% of recommended intake.
- Arugula leaves contain adequate levels of minerals, especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.
I love adding arugula to the top of a piece of Ezekiel bread, along with a cage-free farm fresh or organic egg. It is such a delicious combination! Arugula's flavor is zesty and is one of my favorite toppings on a Mediterranean-style pizza.
My favorite salad is one made of spinach and arugula, topped with berries (strawberries are my favorite), and lightly dressed (with a mixture of balsamic vinegar and oil from home, or my favorite Fuji Apple Panera Dressing, which has just a few, completely natural ingredients). I add a few dried cranberries and it is ready to eat! Yummy! These salads are so delicious to me that sometimes when I am hungry for a snack mid-day, I make one. Why not?
|A typical lunch for me....yum yum! (A strawberry and power green salad, with an organic egg/arugula/hormone-free chicken breast combo atop Ezekiel bread).|