Welcome to powerhouse vegetables, Part II. You may view previous post here and future post here. This information is timely, because February is American Heart Month www.heart.org. I’m going to take a chance and guess some of you might only eat one of the four featured vegetables. Honestly, I have tried all of them and only eat two of the four on a consistent basis. What does this mean? Nutrition professionals get in a rut too and we need to step out of the comfort zone and be daring in the kitchen. I challenge you to try each of the four powerhouse vegetables below at least once this month.
Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable related to kale, cauliflower, and mustard greens. They’re high in vitamin K and fiber. Brussels sprouts are a good source of antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties. This vegetable may reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Brussels sprouts tend to be an unpopular vegetable, especially with children. Thankfully, preparation and cooking methods have come a long way. Brussels sprouts can be shaved for salads, or my favorite is roasting them in the oven.
Kale is also a cruciferous vegetable related to Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and mustard greens. It contains vitamins K, C, manganese, and antioxidants that may help ease inflammation, protect against chronic disease, and support eye health. There was a time when kale was just a garnish, now it’s being utilized as an ingredient in salads, smoothies, omelets and more.
Green peas are part of the legume family, plants that produce pods with seeds, but are consumed as a starchy vegetable. A half cup of peas contains 4 grams of both fiber and protein. Peas provide vitamins A, C, K and may help protect against heart disease and cancer. If you haven’t already, give peas a chance.
Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable belonging to the same family as beets and spinach. It’s loaded with vitamins A, C, K and magnesium. Chard is a good source of fiber, with one cup providing 4 grams. It’s equally impressive to kale and may help prevent health conditions such as heart disease and lung cancer. Top pizza crust with it, sauté or add to your favorite scrambled eggs and other recipes.
The challenge is on, be brave and experiment with our four green friends. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the health benefits provided by these vegetables. Check out our next blog for Part III. To start, try this Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Green Pea Green Goddess Dressing recipe.