No matter the reason for that early aversion, we now know that green foods should be an important component of our diets. Yet only 33 percent of us meet the recommendation for fruit consumption, and fewer than 30 percent of adults eat the recommended servings of vegetables. Although the amount of fruit and veggies you need varies, depending on age, gender, and how physically active you are, a general rule of thumb to aim for is about two cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day. One good place to start: with these seven delicious and nutrient-packed green foods.
1. Avocados: As if you needed one more reason to love avocados. This tasty fruit packs 690 mg of potassium (a medium sized banana only has 420), making it the perfect after-workout snack to help fight muscle cramps. The healthy fats found in them may help decrease inflammation and improve cholesterol levels. Not sure how to incorporate avocado into your meals beyond salad? Check out these10 easy avocado recipes.
2. Apples: An apple a day really might help keep the doctor away. The crisp fruit may help fight obesity, lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of stroke, and stave off certain types of cancer. Of course, not all apples are green. The good news? These health benefits apply to red and yellow ones, too.
3. Kale: Kale is (and has been) having a moment, but there’s a reason behind this leafy green’s 15 minutes of fame. For starters, kale is good for your bones, offering 24 mg of calcium per cup. It’s also rich in vitamin A, which keeps your skin healthy and may protect against some forms of cancer. Kale is a good source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and could amp up your immune system to help your body fight off bugs. You can also get lots of vitamin K from kale, a nutrient essential for blood clotting.
4. Spinach: Even though kale may be the trendy green, classic spinach offers its share of health benefits, too. Like kale, it’s filled with vitamins C and A, and it even offers slightly more fiber than kale. Fun fact: Boiling or steaming spinach may actually help make it even healthier by drawing out more antioxidants for your body.