PJ's Fitness Blog

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Top 7 Dark Green Vegetables

greensGreen vegetables are the most nutritious type of food on the planet. They beat everything else hands down, no contest.

Friends, family, and clients often ask me what are the best green vegetables and my usual answer is the darker green, the better, because that is an indicator of the amount of nutrients in the vegetable.

For people who want more specifics however, here is my list of my top seven favorite green vegetables based on nutrient value, ease-of-use, and availability in most major grocery stores.

Before I get to that list though, I want to emphasize how important it is to make sure your vegetables are organic. Conventional vegetables are usually covered with chemicals and pesticides that can be toxic to your system, giving you health problems and making it more difficult to burn off fat. If you must buy non-organic vegetables, make sure they are washed thoroughly before you eat them, as that will reduce some of the pesticide load in your system. Buying from local farmers is also a safer bet, because you can talk to them about their growing practices before you buy their stuff.

As far as genetically modified vegetables go, I would say stay away from them at all costs. In fact, run away screaming. The only way to make sure you are not eating those “Frankenfoods” is to buy strictly organic. Otherwise, you may be buying GM foods without knowing it. GM foods are completely toxic because they are completely unnatural and have engineered built-in pesticides that grow within the interior of every cell which can’t be washed off.

I won’t get into the myriad of health problems that come from GM freak foods here, but if you would like the right to know if the foods you are buying are GM or not, then find a GM labeling initiative in your area to vote for. As an example, here is the initiative in my state: http://action.yeson522.com/page/s/supportlabeling?gclid=CO6Q48vhw7kCFUSCQgodIzcAIw

So to be clear, here are my top seven ORGANIC dark green vegetable picks:

1. Sprouts: These are the initial plant shoots grown from seeds of alfalfa, broccoli, clover, etc. Sprouts are the most nutrient dense food of all the green vegetables. They are easy to find in stores and can be tossed in a salad, stir fry, or many other dishes with no preparation needed.

2. Broccoli: My favorite way to prepare this is the Broiled Broccoli recipe on the X Gym recipe page. Broccoli also tastes great raw if it is dipped in a clean, sugar-free dressing or guacamole. Broccoli also goes great in salads, stir fry, on the grill, and the list goes on.

3. Kale: This dark green powerhouse is a true superfood with all the vitamins and minerals it contains. I use it for juicing, salads, and as a snack in the form of kale chips.

4. Dandelion Greens: Most people think of this as a weed, but the greens are rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, and also contain iron, potassium, and zinc. Most knowledgeable grocery stores like whole foods or PCC have these available, but they might be hard to find in traditional grocery stores like your neighborhood Safeway. If you can’t find them, then just pull some out of your yard and you will be doing weeding and shopping at the same time!

5. Spinach: Popeye got this one right. Eating lots of spinach will indeed give you enough energy to punch Brutus and his big junk food belly into next Tuesday. Don’t eat it from a can like Popeye does though. It’s not as nutritious and tearing open cans with his bare hands is how he got those freaky ugly huge forearms. You don’t want that either.

6. Chard: This one comes in lots of different varieties, but they are all classified as superfoods because of their nutritional density. Studies suggest that chard also helps regulate blood sugar and since dark green vegetables like this can’t possibly spike your insulin, they are also potent diabetes fighters.

7. Asparagus: Besides having a great taste and being fun to eat, this miracle food is packed with loads of folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, thiamine, and vitamins A and C. Asparagus can be broiled, baked, boiled, steamed, grilled, etc. Prepare it with coconut oil or butter (from grass fed cows), Parmesan cheese, and maybe some lemon juice or zest. Be careful not to over cook it though, as that will destroy many of the nutrients. Be sure to snap off the bottom woody part as well, or you will be tempted to over cook it. I typically have 4-5 inches of stock left to eat after I’ve snapped off the bottom part. If you are willing to eat that bottom part however, you will get some great fiber out of it. Personally, I use that part for juicing.

For a great list of lots more green vegetables, check out this post: http://www.vegetarian-diet-tips.com/list-of-vegetables.html

For the most amazing salad you have ever eaten in your life, see the recipe on the X Gym recipe page here: http://xgym.com/flavolicious-chop-chop/

And an amazing salad dressing here: http://xgym.com/flavor-grenade-dressing/