Color Your Plate … Green!

All month, we emphasize the importance of a colorful diet of fruits and veggies, focusing on one color at a time! This week, add the color green to your plate.

Green is the very color of healthy foods. When nutritionists recommend healthy foods, the first thing they tell you is to eat your green veggies. And there are so many to choose from, like the delicious bitter greens kale, arugula, and collards, crunchy broccoli just waiting for a little butter and lemon to liven them up, rich delicious avocados, and even tart refreshing limes. This week, make an effort to sample new greens that you may have never had before.

Leafy Green VegetablesGreen foods to add to your plate this week

Green apples, Green grapes, Honeydew, Kiwifruit, Limes, Green pears, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Broccoflower, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, Green beans, Green cabbage, Celery, Chayote, Cucumbers, Endive, Leafy greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Green onion, Okra, Peas, Green pepper, Snow Peas, Sugar snap peas, Spinach, Watercress, Zucchini, Avocado, kale, kiwi.

What makes your greens green?

Chlorophyll makes your greens green, and functions to transform sunlight into energy!. Despite this, it’s not clear if chlorophyll itself is even good for you at all. The nutrition science jury is still out on that question. There are some suggestions that it may possibly act as an antibiotic or that it might help prevent the DNA damage that can lead to cancer formation, but this is far from confirmed just yet. That said, we can all agree that the healthiest part of your green veggies isn’t the chlorophyll at all!

Broccoli as a perfect example.

Baby smiling at broccoliBroccoli: The Crown Jewel of Nutrition

Broccoli is a member of a family of vegetables that also includes cabbage and cauliflower. Yes, these greens are vitamin-rich and high in fiber, but that’s not their most amazing health property. They contain phytochemicals called indoles, which are what make this family of veggies the best cancer prevention foods available.

In fact, research shows that this compound helps reduce cancer risk on the front end (prevention) and the back end (treatment). In other words, it helps deactivate a potent metabolite (4-hydroxyestrone) that promotes tumor growth, especially in estrogen-sensitive breast cells. At the same time it increases the level a form of estrogen that can be cancer-protective.

Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to suppress not only breast tumor cell growth, but also cancer cell metastasis (the movement of cancerous cells to other parts of the body). It boosts the body’s own detoxification enzymes, which can help your body clear potentially carcinogenic chemicals more quickly.

But Wait, There’s More

In addition to its cancer-fighting punches, a medium stalk of broccoli gives you 220% of your daily vitamin C, 194% of your vitamin K, 15% of your vitamin A. All these vitamins are antioxidants that help prevent the damage that can be caused by free radicals.

The bottom line for you is that if you add greens to your plate, you will “Green Light” your health in the process!