St. Patrick’s Day is known for corned beef and cabbage. My Irish grandmother prepares it each March. To help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day add green foods to this traditional Irish meal as well as other meals and snacks. Loading up on green fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase your intake of phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Phytonutrients are substances that plants produce naturally to protect themselves and provide the plant’s color, aroma, texture, and flavor. Most fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, and this chemical family has demonstrated nutritive health benefits. For instance, lutein, which is present in green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli, may aid in maintaining healthy vision.
Kale, spinach and broccoli are also rich in the antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamin C. Antioxidants are natural defenders present in the body & in certain foods, particularly fruits & vegetables. Antioxidants help protect the body against harmful unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals can lead to various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, cataracts, lowered immune function, & neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s. The damage created by free radicals can be prevented or decreased by antioxidants. The body’s ability to fight free radicals can be strengthened by consuming antioxidant-rich foods like kale, spinach, broccoli and avocadoes. Celebrate St. Patrick’s during the month of March by increasing your intake of green fruits and vegetables. Your body will thank you as it reaps the myriad health benefits they provide.
10 Ways to Add Green to Your Day:
1. Enjoy a juicy kiwi at breakfast, for a snack or for a sweet treat after lunch.
2. Make a spinach salad and add broccoli, green peppers, green onions, and celery.
3. Assemble “ants on a log” by washing and cutting celery stalks into strips, filling each with either peanut butter or spreadable cheese such as Laughing Cow cheese and topping with raisins or dried cranberries.
4. Sauté broccoli in olive oil and garlic for a delicious side dish.
5. Savor the sweet taste of green grapes either plain or cut-up on your favorite cereal or in chicken salad.
6. Enjoy raw strips of green pepper and broccoli florets with hummus as a snack.
7. Make a delicious minestrone soup with green beans, peas, and cabbage.
8. Prepare guacamole with ripe green avocados or add sliced avocado to a salad.
9. Sauté green peppers and onions to add to a sandwich or to make fajitas.
10. Roast cut-up green peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes by drizzling them with olive oil, adding dried rosemary or thyme, garlic powder and freshly ground pepper. Toss to evenly coat vegetables. Place the vegetables in a glass baking dish and bake for 45 – 60 minutes at 425 degrees F. Stir every 20 minutes. Serve warm as a delicious and nutritious side dish with a baked fish, chicken or tofu.
Enjoy eating GREEN this St. Patrick’s Day!