Food & Nutrition

The benefits of green vegetables

Here are some of the nutritional standouts and helpful tips about how to add these 0 SmartPoints® green miracles to your meals.

Nutrition of green vegetable

 

Kale


The benefits: Part of the Brassica family, along with other superstars like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage, kale is rich in sulphur-containing phytonutrients with anti-cancer properties. Like other green, leafy vegetables, it’s also a great source of folate, the B vitamin that’s vital for energy metabolism and a healthy pregnancy. Plus, kale is perfect for your peepers – it’s rich in the eye-health-promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Try this

  • Serve washed kale leaves as oven-crisped ‘chips’ – spray lightly with olive oil and crisp in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes.
  • Mix kale leaves into a sensational summer salad along with freshly cut baby spinach leaves, available in a handy 150g pack.
  • Whip up a kale pesto with English spinach, pine nuts, olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

 

Baby spinach leaves


The benefits: Spinach has made a comeback of late, with the baby variety being particularly popular – and for good reason! Thanks to Popeye, spinach has long been renowned for its high iron content, and while that’s true, in reality, the iron in spinach (and other green vegies) is harder for the body to absorb than the iron found in a piece of red meat. But what you do get a lot of when you eat a serve of spinach is vitamins C and E, beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A), niacin (vitamin B3), folate, vitamin B6, plus magnesium and potassium.

Try this

  • Add it to an omelette along with mushrooms and tomatoes. Add to the pan and wilt before adding the egg mixture.
  • Have it as a side with your poached eggs and toast in the morning. It can be served raw or slightly wilted with a little oil.
  • Use it as the hero of a salad. It goes very well with roast pumpkin, feta and cherry tomatoes – yum!

 

Broccoli


The benefits: Broccoli is a vegetable that can divide households – especially when there are children involved. People either love it or hate it, but there are some very convincing reasons why adding broccoli to your daily vegetable roll call is a smart move. It sits at the top of the class for its content of many nutrients, including potassium, which helps to balance and regulate sodium levels, and vitamin C, which plays a role in a healthy immune system.

Try this

  • Stir-fry florets with garlic, salt and pepper in a little olive oil. Sprinkle with flaked almonds for a yummy nutty taste.
  • Steam and serve as a side dish with any main meal.
  • Stir-fry it with chicken and serve with brown rice – you can add any flavours you like and the leafy heads will absorb it.

 

Snowpea Sprouts


The benefits: Snowpea sprouts are the young shoots of the snowpea plant. They’re often used simply as a garnish but they can be so much more. Snowpea sprouts are a great source of folic acid, and vitamins C and A. Plus, sprouts tend to have higher nutrient levels than the mature plant, so you get more bang for your buck. You’ll find packaged brands in the fresh food aisles at the supermarket.

Try this

  • Make a side dish for an Asian main – stir-fry the sprouts with garlic, fresh chilli and a splash of sesame oil.
  • Add to your usual green salad for extra crunch and a new flavour.
  • Add as a vegetable to rice paper rolls –they’re the perfect shape and size, and go really well with chicken and avocado.