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NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.
Leafy greens, those delicious garnishes, salads, and side dishes, are packed with many of the most important nutrients needed to feel and stay healthy. They provide vitamins and minerals, as well as a good helping of fiber to strengthen your body and help to prevent future diseases.
Romaine lettuce is off the table according to the CDC, at least for now. The lengthy lettuce leaves with thick veins have been blamed for the latest E.coli outbreak that has sickened 32 people in 11 states and another 18 people in Canada. So what’s an obsessive salad-lover supposed to do?First of all, brush up on your Salad 101 by knowing what romaine looks like so you don’t buy it or eat it:
Read labels on bagged, chopped salads to make sure romaine isn’t included. And know that washing romaine probably won’t get rid of the E.coli. If you’re eating out, don’t forget to ask if they are serving romaine.
Now for the good news! There are plenty of other leafy options to create a fabulous green, delicious salad. These healthy subs are good choices until health officials say romaine is safe to eat again.
Geeta Maker-Clark, MD at NorthShore shares some of the best leafy greens options for your diet to maximize nutrition and boost your health:
Kale. This green has become a superstar in the world of nutrition for all of its health benefits. It’s high in Vitamins A and C as well, with plenty of fiber and antioxidants. These work to improve your metabolism and digestion, as well as battle inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Collard Greens. A staple for many families, this green is rich in Vitamin K (over 100% of your daily levels per serving), which strengthens bones and can help to slow the damage of disease like Alzheimer’s. With its carbohydrate and protein count, collard greens make a great post-workout snack.
Chard. This colorful green is filled with antioxidants that fight eye degeneration and malnutrition, and iron that improves blood flow regulation, making it a very healthy resource for diabetics. As another great source of Vitamin K (over 300% of your daily levels per serving) and calcium, chard works to stimulate healthy bone growth.
Spinach. What can't spinach do? Its strong mix of vitamins helps your body fight infections and disease, while strengthening your skin, bones and vision. It’s also a favorite when it comes to Omega-3 fatty acids, which help your memory and lowers the risk of life threatening disease.
Bok Choy. If you’re in the mood for Chinese, make sure you get some of this cabbage that’s rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin K with 72% of your daily requirement per serving, including strong antioxidants with the potential to help prevent forms of cancer, improve your immune system, and fight brain shrinkage.
Arugula.Whether you're making a light salad or adding a healthy topping to your pizza, arugula is the perfect choice. It's full of vitamins to help boost your immune system, strengthen your bones and improve your eye health, and because the body easily absorbs its essential nutrients, it makes a great part of a healthy weight loss meal plan or diet during pregnancy.