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16 Leafy Greens Recipes You’ll Love + 5 Reasons to Eat Em’

You’ll love these leafy greens recipes, plus your body will thank you for eating them everyday. Yep. Every. Day. Here’s why…

Leafy Green Recipes

If there’s one food I don’t have a problem with telling encouraging you to eat every day, it’s leafy greens.

Now, before you start rolling your eyeballs at me {Dad-I’m looking at you!}, please hear me out…

One of my healthy habits, is trying to eat one serving of leafy greens {almost} every day. I’m not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t personally do myself. 🙂

I know this may sound a little “woo woo”, but I really do feel better~more energized and alert~ when I include a daily serving of leafy greens in my diet.

LEAFY GREENS FOR EVERYONE!

In addition, no matter what type of diet helps you feel your best {i.e. Mediterranean, flexitarian, vegetarian, low FODMAP, vegan, low carb, paleo, etc}, leafy greens can fit right into your meal plan. Quite deliciously I might add!

And, while I’ll always encourage you to eat the rainbow, leafy greens are one of the most nutrient packed foods you can eat.

You’ve likely noticed many leafy greens taste slightly bitter. That’s a good thing!

Many leafy greens, including kale, arugula, collard greens, and mustard greens, contain glucosinolates. These are sulfur-rich (and bitter tasting) compounds that may lower your risk of certain cancers & may also help ward off intestinal, and other infections.

Note: Although I consider leafy greens rockstars in the nutrition world, there are 2 instances you should consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist before eating them daily:

  1. If you’re on a blood thinner. Large amounts of leafy greens may interfere with blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) due to their high amount of vitamin K. You can still eat leafy greens, but your medicine dose may need to be adjusted if you eat large amounts~consult with your physician to find your optimal dose.
  2. If you have thyroid disease. You may have read that cruciferous vegetables {this includes some leafy greens such as arugula, bok choy, collard greens, kale, & watercress} release a compound called goitrin. This can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis, however this only is a concern in the presence of iodine deficiency. In addition, lightly cooking cruciferous veggies greatly decreases their goitrogenic effect, so you can still include them in your diet. No excuses.
Lemony Kale Pasta Salad

Here are 6 reasons to get excited about eating leafy greens…

No. 1 | Boost Your Brain Health

As I shared in this post on The MIND Diet, eating leafy greens {6 x week} is one of the best ways to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and boost overall brain health.

In addition to more traditional greens {kale, romaine, spinach}, have fun experimenting with other varieties including: Arugula, Dandelion Greens, and Watercress.

Brain boosting leafy greens…

No. 2 | Lower Your BP {Blood Pressure}

Leafy greens are a good source of potassium, which counteracts excess sodium, and helps lower your blood pressure. Potassium also helps relax your blood vessel walls, which further helps to lower blood pressure.

Choose these leafy greens which are highest in potassium: Swiss Chard, Spinach , & Bok Choy.

Leafy greens that help lower blood pressure…

No. 3 | Manage Your MTHFR with Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are a natural source of folate. You might need more folate to support methylation if you have a MTHFR gene mutation like I do. Methylation is complex topic, but, in a nutshell, methylation switches genes on and off, and helps repair DNA.

Did you know, approximately 30-50% of us {myself included} have a MTHFR gene mutation?

This means we may need to include more folate rich foods in our diet {vs folic acid, a synthetic form that is added to many processed foods}. Luckily, leafy greens are an excellent source of folate.

Health conditions that may be related to an MTHFR mutation include high homocysteine levels {which may be linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke}, recurrent miscarriages, and mood disorders including depression and anxiety.

Further research is definitely needed in this area, as many people with an MTHFR mutation won’t experience any symptoms. Read this article if you are interested in learning more about methylation & MTHFR.

Choose these leafy greens which are high in folate: Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, & Mustard Greens.

High folate leafy greens…

No. 4 | Protect Your Peepers

Leafy greens are rich sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration {AMD} and cataracts.

Choose these leafy greens which are highest in lutein & zeaxanthin: Kale, Spinach, & Dandelion Greens.

Leafy greens for healthy eyes…

No. 5 | Build Up Your Bones

Not only are leafy greens a plant-based source of calcium, they’re also packed with vitamin K, another nutrient which can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

Choose a variety of leafy greens to help meet your calcium and vitamin K needs including: Collard greens, kale, and turnip greens.

Leafy greens for bone health…

And, to entice you to eat more leafy greens, here are 16 recipes I think you’re going to love!

16 Leafy Greens Recipes You’ll Love

Breakfast {Smoothies}

Leafy Greens Recipes Smoothies

You may already know that I’m a fan of green smoothies. All four of these smoothie recipes made with leafy greens are a delicious {and easy!} way to start your day!

Breakfast {Savory}

Leafy Greens Recipes Breakfast

Green smoothies not your thing? That’s ok. We can still be friends. That being said, I LOVE gettin’ some green leafies in for my first meal of the day. Scrambled egg tacos w/ greens & feta are one of my go to favorites, but these 4 creative recipes above definitely take your leafy greens for breakfast up a notch!

Lunch
Leafy Greens Recipes Lunch

Lunchtime is another great opportunity to get your daily dose of leafy greens. Try ’em stuffed into sandwiches, swirled into soup, or in one of these delicious leafy greens recipes featuring spinach, collard greens, baby lettuce, and watercress. Any of these leafy greens recipes would also make a delicious side dish!

Dinner

Leafy Greens Recipes Dinner

Last call to get your leafy greens! {Unless you wanna’ eat them for dessert!} We’ve been doing a lot of spinach salads lately, because, gasp!, my kids seem to like ’em. For a really simple salad, I top baby spinach with pine nuts, feta cheese, and dried cranberries with my super simple Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette. How about trying some of these yummy recipes too?!

Resources | Learn more about the health benefits of leafy greens…

Let’s Chat!

  1. How often do you eat leafy greens?
  2. What are your favorite ways to eat/drink leafy greens? Do you have a favorite recipe? Share in the comments below!
  3. Did you learn anything new about the health benefits of leafy greens? Are you excited about eating leafy greens???

14 thoughts on “16 Leafy Greens Recipes You’ll Love + 5 Reasons to Eat Em’”

  1. I’m pretty sure I want to try every single one of these recipes- I could probably build my monthly menu just from this post!

  2. What a great post EA!! So important pointing out the MTHFR! I need to share this post with my clients! Thanks for including my tacos!!

    1. Thanks so much Liz! Yes-MTHFR mutations are definitely something to be aware of, including as it relates to fertility. Your tacos look so delicious~I don’t know why I’ve never thought to top mine with arugula before~will definitely be trying this next #TacoTuesday !!

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