Top Five “Greens” for a Great St. Patrick’s Day Party
By: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS
Contributor: Stephanie Wu
St. Patrick’s Day is next week and plans are underway across the country to celebrate this joyous occasion. It’s a wonderful time to be Irish or “honorary Irish for the day” and partake in the festivities where everything is green, bright and the luck of the Shamrock is in the air!
It hasn’t gone unnoticed that St. Patrick’s Day falls during National Nutrition Month, another observance where “greens” have a prominent place, though for a different reason – good health.
What if this year we merged National Nutrition Month with the traditions of St. Patrick’s Day to have the healthiest and most delicious parties ever? Sounds interesting, doesn’t it!
Here are five naturally green foods that are also healthy and delicious that will brighten up any St. Patrick’s party table and that will balance out that glass of traditional green beer.
These fruits are SUPER! And yes, they are classified as a fruit, not a vegetable. They’re packed to the brim with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, that are both good for your system and for your skin. You get vitamin vitamin C, an immune-boosting compound that helps with tissue growth and skin elasticity. Also, you’re getting vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that protects your body from harm and damage.
Avocados also contain plant sterols – which help to reduce the risk for cancer – and Lutein, which keeps your eyes sharp and healthy. Another great use of avocados, in addition to eating them, is to make a hair and facial mask out of the fruit and add this to your skin and hair care regimen.
Kale is a Super food too. It contains lots of fiber, potassium, vitamins C and B6, which supports heart health. It’s recommended that increasing potassium and decreasing sodium can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In a study, participants who consumed 4,069 milligrams (mg) of potassium each day, lowered their risk of death from heart disease by 49%.
Pesto is a savory sauce made from basil, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. The combination of these ingredients are filled with health benefits that can be included in a well-balanced diet. Though olive oil and pine nuts are high in calories and have a high fat content, let’s remember that the fat is ‘unsaturated fat’, which contributes to improved cholesterol levels, decreased inflammation, risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Pesto is extremely versatile and can be used with different combinations of herbs and greens including kale for an additional nutrition boost.
Kiwis are delectable fruits that are loaded with vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B6, B12, E, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. These contribute to better body functions including improved blood circulation in your vessels, less stress, increased absorption of iron for healthy bones and teeth, and improved blood pressure. The intake of iron helps to maintain blood pressure. Kiwis are also high in magnesium which helps with nerve and muscle functions.
Matcha (green tea) contains a unique antioxidant called catechins. Catechins are not normally found in foods. The catechin called EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) actually contains cancer-fighting properties. Both EGCgs and other catechins fight cancer-causing effects from pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals leading to cell and DNA damage. Consuming matcha daily (in tea or smoothies) may help to preserve your overall well-being and physical well-balance.
If you need more ideas for delicious healthy greens or more healthy reasons to include them on your table, have a read of our blog from December 4, 2018, It’s Not Easy Being a Green.
So, ready to party and do green for a day? I know I am! I’ll even do the cooking.
* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.