Getting more greens in your diet is difficult when we’re met with negatively charged comments like “hippie” or “rabbit” every time we eat a carrot. We’ve all seen the looks on people’s faces when someone (bravely) announces their veganism or documents their diet progress. These attitudes tend to make us feel guilty for our food choices and can ultimately trick us into reverting into our old habits. The social stigma around healthy eating can be damaging to our relationship with food.
While college-living doesn’t exactly promote a healthy lifestyle, getting more greens into your diet is actually super simple—and super cheap. Greens in your diet fuel your late night study sessions far more efficiently than the sugar-rich concoction of Red Bulls and Mars bars, without the dirty sugar crash at the end. Excellent, so where do we begin?
The next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, cabbage and collard greens. These are packed full of vital vitamins A, C and K, plus minerals including iron and calcium.
Unfortunately, salad favorite Iceberg Lettuce pales in comparison to these in terms of nutritional value. It’s made mainly of water, so in the attempt to top up on valuable nutrients, replace this traditional salad base with mild-tasting superfood spinach, instead.
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What do they do?
Vitamin C, you’ll be pleased to know, helps the body to produce collagen, which is the compound that keeps skin elastic, healthy and youthful looking, while good iron intake contributes to higher energy levels.
Leafy greens are a prime source of folate which reduces the risk of memory loss. Folate also contributes to the brain’s production of serotonin—the “happy” compound in the brain—ultimately helping to stave off bouts of depression and anxiety.
The high fiber content of leafy greens also helps to lower the cholesterol we’re so frequently warned of working on, too.
And (as if you needed any more reason to get more greens into your diet) they are full of phytochemicals, like beta-carotene, that have been found to have disease preventative properties. Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD, a professor of nutrition at Andrews University, reported that a Swedish study found that eating three or more servings of leafy greens a week reduced the risk of stomach cancer.
How to get more greens into your diet
One of the most common reasons students steer clear of greens is their strong, distinctive flavor. The good news is that you can include all of these greens into your diet without really tasting them at all.
Our favorite ways of getting greens into your diet include:
1. Drinking greens by throwing a generous handful of spinach into morning smoothies. We love frozen banana and spinach with almond milk and hemp seeds.
2. Wilting kale in lasagne sauce mix for an almost invisible nutrient fix
3. Chopping dark leaf cabbage into thin slices to add to hearty winter soup
4. Mixing any greens of choice into that morning omelette (protein AND essential vitamins in one!)
How do you like to get greens in your diet? Let College News know!