SPRING IS JUST around the corner and what better way to welcome the season than by highlighting the excellent emeralds in our lives that keep us healthy.
1.) Green tea: These days it comes in tea bags, hot, cold, over ice, in bubble, and frozen. Whatever the temperature, the best and healthiest green tea is made with loose tea leaves. Studies show that an after dinner cup of green tea may improve vascular reactivity (the way blood vessels respond to stress) and decrease the risk of heart disease.
2.) Kale chips: Want a healthy excuse for a chip? Bake up some kale leaves. (A staple for forever snacking med students, especially at 3 AM.) Kale has oodles of folate, Vitamin E and K (disclaimer: those taking mandatory blood thinners, take caution as vitamin K reverses what these medications are supposed to do!)
3.) Pistachios: Not only are these green little nuts fun to crack, but they also contain beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol – compounds that lower LDL, or the ‘lousy’ cholesterol that leads to fatty deposits in our blood vessels. When researchers studied the change in LDL-cholesterol produced by subjects on pistachio-enhanced diets, they found decreased production in those who consumed 3 ounces of the nuts daily.
4.) Green juice: This may be the green gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to health. An alphabet of vitamins, calcium, and nutrients, you can tailor each glass to your taste buds. Try the traditional Green Monster.
5. ) Cucumbers: These pre-pickle veggies are so high in water content that they’re almost negative in calories (meaning just the act of eating and digesting them probably burns more calories than they contain.) They’re also great for your post St. Patty’s bar hopping escapades since they hydrate your cells and lower water retention.