Need More Carotene? Eat More Green!

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Fresh spring veggies are colorful, appetizing, and vital to our overall health.  The nutrients and vitamins found in vegetables not only give our bodies the nourishment they need, they also work to combat the toxins in our systems.  For instance, dark greens like mustard and collard greens, kale, and green leafy lettuce contain high levels of vitamins B6 and C, fiber, calcium, carotenes, manganese, and copper, just to name a few benefits.  Green vegetables, especially leafy greens, give us cancer-fighting benefits.  This is mostly due to their high content of antioxidant compounds including vitamins C and E, carotenes, and a high content of glucosinolates.*

                Growing up the farm in Illinois, we grew all our own greens and vegetables in Mom’s large garden.  Fresh green beans, spinach, zucchini, beets, onions, carrots, and even wild-grown asparagus were always on our springtime menu.  My family and I never had a shortage of home-grown, organic vegetables and herbs!  Mom canned, too, so even into the winter we enjoyed the fruits of her springtime labor.  We’re a robust bunch, living proof of the value of a healthy lifestyle in childhood.

                Fast forward twenty years, and I am growing vegetables with my own offspring.  We are delighted by our numerous herbs and vegetables sprouting, growing, and now, blooming in the backyard.  We’re growing squash, green beans, spinach, peppers, and so much more green goodness for our own dinner table.  We don’t have the canning part figured out yet, but thankfully it’s better to freeze them anyway!      

It is easier than ever to obtain fresh and healthy vegetables to add to your family diet on a daily basis.  Although green vegetables are the best choice, allowing for variety in the selection will keep your family interested in continuing to eat vegetables.  Vary the dishes between fresh selections such as salads, and hearty sautéed and grilled varieties.  Add low-sugar ranch and sour cream dips to an appealing selection of crunchy raw veggies for your family’s enjoyment.  Use your creativity and entice them to choose vegetables over empty, harmful, processed foods that will only add toxins and no value to their diet!

                Whether you grow your own, buy them fresh at market, or go for organic selections, just find ways eat more veggies!  The powerful benefits found in them will detoxify, add vitamins and minerals naturally, and nourish your body.  All good reasons to enjoy more green this spring!

* Some nutrition information obtained from Daily Chef.com.

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