Summer is just about at its halfway point, which means it’s the perfect time to try out a new diet- or exercise-based health regimen. If you’re still not quite sure where to start, it’s perfectly okay — in fact, it’s incredibly beneficial — to start relatively basic and incorporate some disease-fighting foods into your summer diet. Here are just a few greens with holistic health benefits to incorporate into your summer diet.
Microgreens are a tiny form of edible greens produced from very young vegetables, herbs, or other plants. They range in size from one to 1.5 inches long, including the stem and leaves. Microgreens have become all the rage among health food fanatics. This is because they’re easily accessible — they can even be grown on your windowsill — and they have countless health benefits as well. According to Healthline, microgreens may reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers. For example, about 10,000 cases of vocal cord cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States, and though research is limited, microgreens’ antioxidants are suspected to lower associated risks.
“Microgreens are rich in nutrients. They often contain larger amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than their more mature counterparts….Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in polyphenols, may lower the risk of various types of cancer. Polyphenol-rich microgreens may be expected to have similar effects,” writes Alina Petre.
If you can eat your greens, why not drink them too? Green tea has long been renowned as an ancient remedy for countless ailments, and once again, antioxidants are to thank. But it’s not quite as easy as buying a jug of sugar-filled Arizona iced tea from the store — you’ll have to brew your own to reap the holistic benefits. For example, periodontal disease increases with age — 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have it. But drinking just one daily glass of green tea can give your gums a much-needed boost by fighting the inflammation associated with one of the main types of gum bacteria. How cool!
For many people, collard greens are that one vegetable with a strange name they just never got a chance to try. But when prepared properly, collard greens are an essential — not to mention delicious — addition to any summer diet. They’re known for their extremely high amounts of Vitamin K — just one cup has more than 1,000% of your daily value! Vitamin K is a highly underrated vitamin, but it’s imperative in your body’s process of blood clotting. It’s also thought to play a major role in overall bone health.
Beets are anything but new to the health food scene — just ask Dwight Schrute. However, even The Office‘s favorite beet farmer didn’t know about the incredible benefits that come from eating the beet leaves in addition to the root itself. Try adding some beet greens to soups and salads, or sautee them as their own side dish.
“Since the Middle Ages, beets have been claimed to be beneficial for health. Indeed, they have an impressive nutrient profile, but while beets are commonly used in dishes, the leaves are often ignored. This is unfortunate, considering that they’re edible and rich in potassium, calcium, riboflavin, fiber and vitamins A and K… They also contain the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein, which have shown to prevent eye disorders such as muscular degeneration and cataracts,” writes Autumn Enloe on Healthline.
When all is said and done, your diet can and often does play a significant role in your overall health. Medical Group Management Association data has found that 60% of the amount owed by patients is never collected, but you may be surprised at the doctor’s office bills you can avoid based on a healthy and holistic diet alone.
Pick up some of these greens at your next trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market and start improving your health today!