Self Care » Diet » Increase Leafy Greens

Increase Leafy Greens

If vegetables are the scarcest food in the Western diet, leafy green vegetables are lacking most of all. Learning to cook and eat greens is essential for creating lasting health. The color green is associated with spring, a time of renewal, refreshment, and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability, and creativity. Nutritionally, greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and K. They are crammed with figer, folate, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.

Some of the benefits gained from eating dark leafy greens are:

  • Blood purification
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Improved circulation
  • Immune strengthening
  • Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
  • Improved liver, gallbladder, and kidney function
  • Reduction of congestion, especially in lungs, and reduction of mucus

When most people hear “leafy green vegetables,” they probably think of iceberg lettuce, but the ordinary, pale lettuce in restaurant salads doesn’t have the power-packed goodness of other greens.

You can choose from a variety of greens. Broccoli is very popular among adults and children – each stem is like a tree trunk, giving you strong, grounded energy.

But remember to be adventurous and try greens you’ve never seen before. Rotate between bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion, and other leafy greens. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun, and wild greens are generally eaten raw.

Get into the habit of adding these green vegetables to your diet as often as possible. Nourishing yourself with greens will naturally crowd out less health-supportive foods. Try it for a month, and see how you feel.

Cooking Greens

Try a variety of preparation methods like steaming, boiling, sauteing in oil, water sauteing, waterless cooking, or chopped in salads. Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. I recommend boiling for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving brother or a tea, if you’re using organic greens. Raw salad is also a wonderful food. It’s refreshing and cooling, and it supplies your body with live enzymes.

Happy Cooking!

Reprinted with kind permission of Integrative Nutrition LLC. Integrative Nutrition: A Whole-Life Approach to Health and Happiness (2018), p. 200-201. 

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<a href="" target="_self">Joshua Rosenthal</a>

Joshua Rosenthal


Joshua Rosenthal MScED is a visionary in health and wellness. He is founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, an online higher education school where students are trained as Health Coaches. Founded in 1992, the school has a global community of 100,000 graduates in 155 countries worldwide. Joshua is the author of many books and holds a Masters of Science degree in Education.