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Toi Degree: Leafy green vegetables are good for you

By Toi Degree
For the Salisbury Post
Now that fall is upon us the cool nights and mild days of fall are perfect conditions for farmers growing late-season vegetables. Fall favorites include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards and other leafy greens. These green veggies are nutritional powerhouses. Let’s take a look at each of the vegetables nutritional benefits:
Broccoli’s nutritional benefits are quite impressive and include being low in calories, rich in vitamins A, B- 3, B-5, B-6, C and K, high in iron, potassium, calcium and fiber, loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and relatively high in protein.
Cauliflower like broccoli and other vegetables is also low in calories and rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, B-5, B-6, C, and K, a good source of manganese, cooper, iron, calcium and potassium. Cauliflower also contains several anti-cancer photo-chemical and plant sterols, which together these compounds have proven beneficial against various cancers.
Cabbage, which comes in varieties including green, purple, red, savoy and bok-choy, is an excellent source of natural antioxidant vitamin C. It is also rich in essential vitamins B-1, B-5, B-6, it also contains an adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, probably the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals including: iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins.
Perhaps the star of these nutrients is Vitamin K. A cup of most cooked greens provides at least nine times the minimum recommended intake of Vitamin K, and even a couple of cups of dark salad greens usually provide the minimum all on their own.
As you can see eating these vegetables will provide you with a wealth of nutrients by simply including a 1 cup serving of broccoli (or one of its cruciferous cousins, such as cabbage or cauliflower) in your diet two to three times a week will help ensure you get the most benefit to your health.
Broccoli is a great side dish alone or mixed with other vegetables. You might also add it to salads, casseroles and soups. While raw is the best way to get the maximum benefit from broccoli’s health-promoting compounds, if you prefer it cooked, lightly steamed is the way to go.
Cauliflower should be divided into florets cut into equal sections to ensure that they cook evenly. Cook covered in a little boiled salted water until tender for few minutes. Overcooking may result in loss of nutrients, especially vitamin C. Cauliflower mixes well with vegetables and meat, florets can be added in pasta bake, casseroles and to make curry/soup, and they are also widely used for pickling.
Cabbage can be eaten raw and sliced or grated raw leaves are added to vegetable salad preparations.
If you would like to pick up any of these vegetables or others be sure to drop by the Rowan County Winter Farmer’s Market Saturdays in October from 7 a.m. to noon and 9 a.m. to noon in November and December. For more information on the farmer’s market visit: http://www.salisburyfarmersmarket.com/
For additional information on vegetables visit: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/vegetable-nutrition.htmlBroccoli Frittata recipe
1 C. chopped, fresh broccoli florets (you may mix other seasonal veggies like asparagus, sugar snap peas, spinach or peppers)
1/2 C. chopped cooked chicken
or salmon (optional)
1/4 C. chopped tomatoes
1/4 C. chopped onions
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1 Tbs. reduced-fat margarine
or butter spray
4 farm-fresh eggs, lightly
beaten
Fresh goat cheese also known
as chevre (optional)
Sauté broccoli, chicken, tomato, onion and tarragon in margarine in a medium saucepan or electric frying pan over medium heat until broccoli is tender-crisp. Pour eggs evenly over all ingredients. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until firm on bottom and almost set on top. Cut into wedges to serve. Serves 4. For additional recipes visit: www.theproducelady.org
Toi N. Degree is a Family and Consumer Education Agent for Rowan County Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at 704-216-8970 or via email at toi_degree@ncsu.edu

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