6 Green Foods to Feel Good About Eating on Saint Patrick’s Day

Laura Brown

by | Updated: March 16th, 2021 | Read time: 4 minutes

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day and warmer weather, brighten your plate with the addition of healthy green foods. Green foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which are responsible for their vibrant and appealing color!

Choose to go green as the main color on your plate (ahem, salads!) or as an ingredient you sneak into a favorite dish. Try these six foods to freshen up and add some greenery to your diet.

Group Of Green Vegetables And Fruits On White Background | Vitacost.com/Blog

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the most loved and well-known green foods. Just 1/2 cup of broccoli packs 51 mg of vitamin C, which is over half of the recommended Vitamin C needs for the day.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that may provide immune support and the body’s ability to fight infection. Researchers believe individuals with high vitamin C intake from fruits and vegetables may be associated with a decreased risk for certain disease such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

How to enjoy: Lightly steam broccoli to enjoy as a side dish or sauté in a stir-fry, or consider consuming raw or freeze-dried broccoli as a snack. If you can, avoid overcooking broccoli, as vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can be destroyed by excessive heat.

2. Green cabbage

Keep with the Irish theme and reach for nutritious green cabbage. Delivering only 18 calories per cup, cabbage is a longstanding dietary stable of over 4,000 years, praised by ancient Greeks and Romans for its medicinal properties.

How to enjoy: Cabbage is delish cooked or raw. You can also ferment cabbage as a component of homemade sauerkraut. Fermenting cabbage preserves its nutritional density and extends shelf life. Additionally, fermented foods are a source of good bacteria, or probiotics, which can impact gut health by improving the digestion and breakdown of foods and nutrients. Because a large majority of the immune system stems from the gut, probiotics may also support a healthy immune system.

3. Avocado

If you are looking for a way to love on your heart, avocados may be the ticket. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which are known as heart healthy fats. In fact, research from Penn State University suggests consuming one avocado per day in servings of 1/3 of an avocado at a time, may help promote lower levels of LDL, aka “bad cholesterol,” as well as overall cholesterol levels.

How to enjoy: Avocados are an easy add to salads, sandwiches, tacos and, of course, dips. If you are not a big avocado fan, consider giving avocado oil a shot in your cooking routine. With its mild and delicate flavor, avocado oil will not overpower the flavor of your dish. Plus, the high smoke-point makes it ideal for high-heat cooking like sauteing and frying.

4. Kiwi

Sweet and tangy kiwis pack a ton of flavor and health benefits into their small frame. In addition to providing nearly 80 percent of vitamin C daily requirements, a single kiwi delivers adequate amounts of fiber, vitamin E and folate. Interestingly, kiwis may contribute to digestive health due to the presence of actinidin, an enzyme unique to kiwifruit. This enzyme helps to break down protein and facilitates digestion in the stomach and small intestine.

How to enjoy: Grab a spoon, slice a kiwi in half and scoop the sweet fruit right from the skin. You can also add kiwi to a breakfast parfait or enjoy it in fruit cocktail.

5. Kale

There is no secret in the nutritional powerhouse of kale. Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, this dark leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin A, C and K. Most notably, kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that may enhance eye health by protecting against age-related macular generation and cataracts. Impressively, 1 cup of kale delivers almost double the amount of lutein linked to health benefits.

How to enjoy: Very low in calories, kale serves as a great base for a salad or smoothie. You can even swap potato chips and other snack foods with kale chips, which you can find on Vitacost.com or make at home!

6. Matcha

Want a bright green beverage to sip on? Matcha is made from young green tea leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are ground into fine powder to be utilized to make bright green tea. Known for its smooth and earthy flavor, matcha is rich in catechins, a type of antioxidant abundant in tea, cocoa and berries. These antioxidants may help to stabilize free radicals, substances that can damage cells and lead to chronic disease. Because matcha is made with the entire green tea leaf, nutritional benefits may be amplified. In fact, one research study found a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) to be over 100 times greater in concentration in matcha compared to traditional green tea.

How to enjoy: Delivering just one third the caffeine compared to one cup of coffee, matcha tea may deliver a source of all-natural energy to help you feel energized throughout the day. You can also add matcha powder to a variety of recipes, including festive desserts like green peanut butter cups!

If you are looking to add even more color to your plate, sign up today to meet with a Kroger Health registered dietitian. Together, you can work to create a colorful nutrition plan that works for you!