gratifying greens These traditional favorites provide a healthy start to the New Year.
f you’ve ever spent New Year's Day in the South, you know that nothing starts the year oﬀ right like a “mess o’ greens." For good fortune, you simply must have black-eyed peas and greens on the ﬁrst day of the year. Actually, you’ll get a lot more than good luck from your New Year's greens. The cruciferous veggies usually found in the stewpot are a concentrated source of good health as well. Collards, kale, and mustard greens—the classic triumvirate—provide a plenitude of protection against a host of ills.
Did You Know…? … greens were growing wild in Asia and the Mediterranean before recorded history? … during the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common vegetables across all of Europe? … in Brazil, a juice made from collards is favored as a remedy for gout and bronchitis? … on Halloween in Ireland, the traditional dish called colcannon is made with mashed potatoes and kale? … mustard greens are used to remove dangerous heavy metals from soil in hazardous waste sites? … an old superstition in the South holds that hanging a collard leaf over the door will ward oﬀ evil spirits?
Powerful Protection The array of antioxidants found in these three greens is staggering—well over 45 and counting. They contribute to a reduction in oxidative stress and chronic inﬂammation, two factors that can lead to cataracts, heart disease, cancer, and other maladies. These same compounds also help lower cholesterol by binding the bile acids in the intestines to allow them to pass safely out of the body. And by contributing to both phases of the body’s detox process, they help provide protection against numerous environmental stresses. Even if you live in cold northern climes and have never whiled away a muggy Southern afternoon on the porch, it’s time to get yourself a mess o’ greens. Here are a few tips to get you started: Choose greens that are bright and crisp, with no yellow or brown spots, and no discolored edges or small holes. Colors should be vibrant—yellow leaves means they’re long past fresh and have lost much of their nutritive value. If you can, select smaller leaves rather than larger, because they’re sweeter and less bitter.
11/29/16 10:54 AM