Arugula – A mustard-flavored green with a bitter flavor. They should be fresh and bright green when bought. Arugula contains Lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin and all of these are being studied for their role as antioxidants and in the prevention of diseases such as macular degeneration and cancer.
Turnip Greens – Long narrow green stems with flat, green and slightly fuzzy leaves may be cooked in in either vegetable or chicken broth 30 to 60 minutes with or without smoked ham hock. Turnip greens contain vitamin A, iron and calcium. Turnip greens also provide magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Kale – Kale comes in colors ranging from dark green, cream, violet and pink. Certain tender varieties may be eaten raw. It may also be steamed, blanched then sauteed, cooked until crisp and tender. It may be added to soups, served as a side dish to chicken or seafood, mixed with rice, pasta or the grain quinoa. Kale contains plenty of vitamins A, C, K and folic acid as well as calcium, potassium, copper and iron.
Rapini – One of the most popular greens in Italy, also known as ‘Broccoli de Rabe’ or Broccolis’ Cousin as I call it. It resembles broccoli but is slightly bitter and darker in color. Also more pricey than regular broccoli. A medium-sharp flavored green with edible stems and small florette clusters. Contains vitamins A,B,C, K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and even a bit of omega 3 fatty acid.
A classic Italian way to prepare it is to grill it with some extra virgin olive oil and serve it up with garlic. Rapini is one of my favorite vegetables.
Swiss Chard – A mild, delicate tasting vegetable with stalk-like stems and broad leaves. A relative of the beet family, the ribs or stems range from green, white or red. Whole plant may be eaten raw or cooked. Excellent source of vitamins, C, A, K, anti-oxidants like Beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Just like spinach, Swiss Chard leaves should be washed thoroughly in clean running water and rinsed in saline water to remove soil, dirt and if non-organic chard is used, then also washing it to prevent ingestion of insecticide/fungicide residues. Fresh, young chard may be used raw in salads, mature stalks and leaves are normally cooked, sauteed or braised and although the bitter taste fades with cooking so do the anti-oxidant properties of the leaves so eating raw would be the healthier route from time to time.
Bok Choy – Dark green leaves, thick white stalks with a bulb-like base. Similar to cabbage in taste. It has more vitamin A, carotenes and anti-oxidants than cabbage however. Good source of vitamin K, has many complex B vitamins such as B6, B5 and B1. It also contains a good amount of minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese and magnesium. Bok choy has proven to have a longer shelf life in the refrigerator for me anyway than say, Kale or Swiss Chard. It can be eaten either cooked in a stir-fry seasoned with garlic, sesame oil, ginger and some chili paste for added spice. In soup, it can be seasoned the same, adding chicken, other greens, onions, Daikon, etc. Mixes well with rice, tofu and meat. Delicious and inexpensive. I have eaten Bok Choy for years and will always find new ways to prepare it so it never gets old.
Daikon – Pronounced DI-kuhn or DI-cone, the word Daikon comes from two Japanese words Dai, meaning large and Kon, meaning root. This vegetable may be eaten raw in salads, can be stir-fried, grilled, baked, broiled or boiled. May also be grated, pickled or simmered in a soup. Not only the root is eaten. The leaves are rich in beta carotene, calcium, vitamin C and iron, so don’t discard the nutritious leaves. Low in calories, a 3 oz. Serving contains only 18 calories. Daikon contains enzymes that aide digestion, especially of starchy foods. Look for roots that feel heavy, with smooth skin and fresh leaves.
Bitter Gourd – Also known as Bitter Melon, comes in varieties of shapes and sizes
- China Pheno Type
- Indian Variety
- Sub-Continent Pheno Type
Generally, they are oblong in shape with pointed or bluntly tapered ends with colors ranging from dark green to pale green and also white. The health benefits of this incredible vegetable are amazing. Scientific studies have shown and continue to show Bitter Melon
insulin sensitivity. Compounds in Bitter Melon have been found to activate a potein that regulates glucose uptake – this is a process that is impaired in people with diabetes. Depending on variety, colors of the vegetable range from dark to pale green and to white in color.
I was introduced to Bitter Gourd, a vegetable which is virtually unknown in the United States by a friend who is originally from Singapore. It is a staple in Asian diets and is also juiced and used as a blood purifier and cancer preventative.
Prepared many different ways, one of the ways that my friend taught me was to slice it open length-wise, scoop out the seeds, then slice into smaller half-moon shaped wedges, place in a pan with some vegetable oil, I always use Canola but others may be used like sesame or peanut oils. First sautee some garlic, onions and herbs in the pan with oil, then place the slices of Bitter Gourd in and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender but still a bit crispy. Don’t over cook. People who do not like a bitter flavor may not ever get used to the taste of it, but it is one of my favorites. See the other recipes on Bitter Gourd Project website and for other information on this wonderful, versatile veggie.
So those are just a few of the vegetables that do a body good and keep the ‘body human’ running and healthy. So many people get bored with the everyday vegetables that they are familiar with. There is more out there than just lettuce and broccoli. There are so many that even I have yet to discover but I keep on exploring and tasting and as I make new discoveries I will happily pass them on to our readers and then they can pass it on and so forth and so on.
Remember, a healthy body = a healthier mind which hopefully = healthier emotions too. It’s all connected.
Here’s to our health!
If you found this article informative, please subscribe to receive my latest articles, like me on facebook, submit it to Stumbleupon and sign up for regular Womens Health email alerts all found on this article page.
As always, thank you for reading my articles