Forget buying expensive, trendy kale; other leafy greens are equally nutritious, cheap and attractive. They are easy to grow, too.
Most greens are cousins from the Brassica group (cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choi, mustard) or descendants of Beta vulgaris (beetroot, chard, spinach) and all their leaves are high in vitamins A, B, C, and K.
They also contain minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
The most important tip is to eat them when they are fresh and not to overcook.
Rainbow chard is silverbeet with colourful stems. Two or three leaves chopped into a stir-fry, soup or omelette is a tasty way to keep your insides healthy.
Bok choi is another fast-growing brassica. Try it steamed with a dash of Asian dressing.
For a bit of spice (and great colour), find mustard or mizuna leaves in red or green; they add real bite to a ham sandwich.
And don’t forget rocket – a peppery alternative to lettuce in a salad and delicious topped with fried halloumi cheese and a squeeze of lemon.
Easy greens with almonds, chilli and garlic
30g slivered almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 florets of cauliflower, trimmed
4 florets of broccoli, trimmed
4-6 brussel sprouts, roughly chopped
handful of spinach leaves or 1-2 baby bok choy
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon paprika
cracked black pepper
- Gently toast slivered almonds in a dry non-stick frypan until lightly golden. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in the frypan. Add the chill and garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and the broccoli and cook in the oil and herb mix until slightly tender. Add the brussel sprouts and spinach leaves or bok choy and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the water, turn off the heat and cover with a lid or plate for 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Serve sprinkled with toasted almonds, black pepper and paprika
Time needed: 15 minutes
Nutrition as we age
Eaden Rountree, Health Coach at Remedy Healthcare, says seasonal foods provide a higher nutrient density as there is less time between when they are picked and consumed.
“As we age, our energy requirements decrease and our ability to absorb nutrients reduces. This makes it more important for us to get maximum nutrients from the foods we consume,” Eaden says.
To boost immunity as we get older, we should ensure we eat plenty of vegetables, in a variety of colours. We should also increase our intake of calcium-rich foods and insoluble fibre, both of which are found in the Brassica group.