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17 May 2022

Healthy Living: Go green for ‘Paddy’s Day’

Healthy Living:  Go green for ‘Paddy’s Day’

Greens are the best for weight control as they are low in calories, but high in satiety-providing fibre Picture: Pexels

GREEN vegetables are the dreaded evil by kids and many adults, whereas they should be the superhero of every dinner plate.
Eating a healthy portion every day can help protect you from many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and may even help you live longer. Your body can feel more satisfied since it is getting the essential nutrients each cell requires to function properly.
Greens are the best for weight control as they are low in calories, but high in satiety-providing fibre. They are brimming with vitamin K, C, Magnesium, Folate and other B vitamins, Calcium, Potassium and phytochemicals amongst many other essential nutrients critical for every cell. Studies showed that if you increase your intake of greens by just one serving per day, your risk of diabetes is lowered by 9% and cardiovascular disease by 11%. Nutrients that support osteocalcin, the bone builders, allow middle-aged women who eat over one serving of greens per day to lower their risk of a hip fracture by 45%. Carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) from leafy greens are absorbed and deposited in the macular region of the retina and the lenses of the eye, protecting our vision.
The darker the green, the more concentrated it is in magnesium as it is found in the centre of the chlorophyll molecule – interestingly, very similar in structure to our haemoglobin that carries oxygen in our blood, with the difference of the latter having iron in the centre. All green vegetables are superfoods so try to include all the varieties: kale, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, collard greens, turnip and beetroot tops, the outer leaves of the cauliflower, Swiss chard, all the salad leaves, seaweeds and sea vegetables and fresh herbs.
The trick to having more green veg in your diet is to make them taste fantastic.
Would you enjoy meat if you boiled it to death in just water? Probably not. Greens retain more of their taste and nutrient content if you steam them lightly until they become brighter green, no longer. Roasting or even charring them on a griddle pan gives them that smokiness we love. Use flavoured oils, such as garlic or chilli infused olive oil, or fresh herb pesto to drizzle over lightly steamed, or stir-fried greens to make them very tasty indeed.
Try this Kale Crisp recipe – a healthy dehydrated version to please even the most devoted green haters…
- A bag of curly kale, washed, well drained, hard stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
- 100g ground almonds
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- Salt & pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder

Drizzle the spicy almond mix on still slightly wet kale evenly. Spread them out well over 3 baking trays lined with parchment paper. Use the fan setting of the oven at 50*C – dehydrate for about 1.5 hours, turning them around every now and then. Keep in an airtight container.
It is a lovely snack that tends to disappear in my house within a few minutes.

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