Food Focus: Greens


Leafy greens are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine. Densely packed with energy and nutrients, they grow upward to the sky, absorbing the sun’s light while producing oxygen. Members of this royal green family include kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, watercress, beet greens, bok choy, napa cabbage, green cabbage, spinach and broccoli.

How do greens benefit our bodies? They are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc, and are a powerhouse for vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Their color is associated with spring, which is a time to renew and refresh vital energy. In traditional Asian medicine, the color green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Greens aid in purifying the blood, strengthening the immune system, improving liver, gall bladder and kidney function, fighting depression, clearing congestion, improving circulation and keeping your skin clear and blemish free.

Leafy greens are the vegetables most missing from the American diet, and many of us never learned how to prepare them. Each time you go to the market, pick up a new green to try. Soon you’ll find your favorite greens and wonder how you ever lived without them.

Recipe: Shiitake and Kale
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 bunch kale, chopped
pinch of salt
1. Warm oil in pan on medium heat with minced garlic until aromas of garlic are released, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms, stir-fry for 5 minutes.
3. Add chopped kale, stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
4. Add a splash of water and pinch of salt to pan, cover and let steam for 4 minutes.

Article contributed by Courtney Hermann Wellness, a Health Coaching and Nutrition Program.  Courtney is accredited by the  Institute for Integrative Nutrition. For more information visit