In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, our friends at ClassPass are sharing their favorite “greens” to keep in the kitchen. Lucky for us, this list boasts benefits ranging from energy boosts to gut health—with some great cooking tips along the way! We hate to break with tradition, but it’s time to ditch the pot o’ gold for a bowl o’ green!
Leafy Greens (Spinach, Arugula, Kale)
Just because leafy greens are low in calories and high in water content doesn’t mean they aren’t doing anything for you. On the contrary, they’re actually nutrition powerhouses and something you should try to consume daily. They contain high amounts of Vitamins A and C, which are building blocks for your body’s natural defenses.
There’s a reason why our parents always told us to eat our broccoli! The vibrant green florets are well known for having many health benefits and are often regarded as one of the healthiest foods in the world. Broccoli contains high amounts of phytochemicals and other compounds seen to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and even cancer. We recommend roasting it with olive oil and garlic or making broccoli soup.
Did you know that one kiwi has more potassium than a banana? And they’re also a great source of magnesium! Think of a kiwi as an edible Gatorade, without all the refined sugar and sodium.
Matcha Green Tea
Look to coffee first thing in the morning? Why not try matcha green tea? Matcha green tea powder or loose tea is not only delicious, but it can also boost cognitive performance. Researchers have found that matcha contains several components to can help enhance cognitive function including attention speed and memory. A better way to get an energy boost in the morning? Yes, please!
Fresh Green Herbs (Cilantro, Parsley, Dill)
Want to make your food flavorful without adding a ton of calories? Use fresh green herbs! They’re basically calorie free—but full of flavor! Adding herbs also allows you to cook with less fat and sodium, which helps to decrease the risk of hypertension (AKA high blood pressure). If you’re thinking of giving a gift this St. Patrick’s Day, consider a pot of herbs—it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
We don’t think any millennial needs a reminder to eat avocados, but we do think many need a refresher on why they’re more than hip—they’re healthy! Avocados are an amazing source of monounsaturated fat (the kind that decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease), and they’re also a great source of fiber. Just one cup contains 10 grams of fiber! That combo puts avocados at the top of the list of heart-healthy foods.
Green Powders (Spirulina, Chlorella)
Superfood powders are probably one of the biggest trends of 2018. Spirulina and Chlorella are both blue-algae powders with concentrated vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. You can add them to smoothies for a big dose of nutrition, which we absolutely had to try when we saw the beautiful Miranda Kerr stated she uses Spirulina in her morning smoothie. Maybe that’s the secret to her amazing skin?
All Green Juices
We’re not all about juice cleanses, because we know our liver has our back when it comes to detoxing. But we do like that juice stores are selling products with only greens and low-sugar fruits, which are perfect when you’re traveling and don’t have access to fresh veggies, or as part of your afternoon snack! Definitely toast with one this St. Paddy’s Day.
Brussels sprouts, like broccoli, may also bring back some childhood memories (maybe not such good ones!). Thankfully, culinary geniuses have discovered you can do way more with brussels sprouts than just steam them. They can be shaved down and added to a salad with fresh lemon and olive oil, or even roasted with garlic and parmesan. One of the best reasons for eating more brussels sprouts is their benefit to gut health. For every six grams of carbohydrates in brussels sprouts, there are two grams of fiber—and a high-fiber diet has been shown to help with increasing healthy gut microflora and promoting regularity.
Green lentils are just one part of the lentil family. This legume is a great source of fiber and protein. If you want to decrease animal protein in your diet, look to green lentils—just one cup provides the same amount of protein as 2.5 ounces of meat! It also packs 15 grams of soluble fiber, which helps decrease total cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Need some cooking inspo? Try this lentil soup recipe by Cookie and Kate!
You don’t need to embrace every green on the list, but we definitely recommend celebrating with some. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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A version of this post originally appeared on The Warm Up by ClassPass. ClassPass is a new kind of gym membership that grants you access to thousands of different classes at studios and gyms in your city and around the world. Learn more today!