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Good things from Philadelphia's most popular green foods

Most of us have had (or still have) someone in our lives commanding us to eat our green vegetables, so it’s no secret that they’re incredibly good for your health. Here are five of Philly's most popular greens, and why they're so good for you.

  1. Kale: As stated by Jill Nussinow, registered dietician and author of The Veggie Queen, this vegetable provides a plethora of nutrients and “everything you want in a leafy green.” It’s packed with vitamins A, C and K. For vegans and those who avoid dairy, kale provides calcium that may otherwise be lacking in your diet. It’s truly a powerhouse green, making it number one on the list.
  2. Broccoli: Rich in vitamins A and K, iron, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phytonutrients, this veggie links to less of a cancer risk. A tip is to avoid over-cooking it; the soggier it gets, the fewer nutrients you get. One of the most impressive things about broccoli is that it doesn’t have to be eaten to reap benefits. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that applying a topical extract onto exposed areas of your body prevents sunburns, and can even create additional protective enzymes in the skin.
  3. Cabbage: Like broccoli, this veggie also has cancer-preventing phytonutrients. With 30 calories per cup (30 g), it’s a great source of vitamin C and extremely versatile in the kitchen. It’s usually the main ingredient in coleslaw, the German food sauerkraut, and it can be incorporated into any green dish -- especially when raw; cooking it gives it a stronger flavor.
  4. Spinach: With only seven calories per cup, Popeye’s signature superfood has the vitamins A and C, as well as folate. Nussinow says that cooking your spinach releases calcium, providing more nutrition than when it’s served raw.
  5. Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce: As found mostly in salads, these similar types of lettuces offer lots of vitamin A and a little bit of folate. The consumer difference between the two is the crunch; Romaine lettuce is much crunchier than Green Leaf lettuce. If you’re an Iceberg lettuce connoisseur, Romaine lettuce is a more nutritious substitute. The darker the lettuce, the more nutrients you'll get, so don’t be afraid to venture away from the green colors and go for the deep dark reds.

An extra healthy tip is to buy your greens organic. Non-organic foods usually have added growth hormones that are thought to have health-damaging risks.

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