This past weekend, I celebrated Independence Day with my Fiance’s family in Minnesota. It was my first time visiting and the weather, location and company was absolutely perfect! We explored back country woods on ATVs, shot sporting clay, whipped around the lake on a jet ski and checked each other for ticks. Did I mention the food???
There was plenty of drink and meat to go around! While I still tried to practice moderation and portion control my sweet tooth got the better of me…and, that is okay.
However, when we returned from our mini-break it occurred to me there was plenty of red (meat), white (breads and potatoes) but where was the green?
A search for Fourth of July menus yields plenty of grilled meats, burgers, potato salads, slaws and desserts; but hardly any leafy greens!
The USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends 1 1/2 to 2 cups of dark green vegetables.
Vegetables provide naturally occurring folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K; as well as, fiber and minerals: magnesium and potassium.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research these are cancer fighting foods!
The carotenoids found in dark green leafy vegetables behave like antioxidants and help eliminate free radicals in the body. In a June 2010 article in Life Science Weekly, pistachios were found to increase antioxidant blood levels.
“Antioxidants are of interest because oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are implicated in inflammation and plaque buildup inside blood vessels. Antioxidants should prevent LDLs from oxidizing, migrating into the blood vessel walls and causing inflammation.”
Fiber “may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes,” according to ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Start eating your greens because…
“…the dietary pattern that appeared protective against development of Alzheimer’s disease had increased amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and folate, and had lower saturated fatty acids and vitamin B12. This was associated with a higher intake of nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, salad dressing, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables, along with lower intake of high-fat diary products, red meat, organ meat, and butter.” – Internal Medicine Alert, September 2010
Even though this past weekend of drink and food hardly had any green vegetables, sometimes you have to step away from the calorie cop and enjoy yourself. Just be sure to return to your healthy eating routine and continue on your personal journey to health and well-being!
Hmmm…Red, white and green is technically Christmas…