Learn to love these superfoods

that will certainly love you back!



Superfoods to Turbo-Charge Your Health

By Catherine J. Rourke

Published October 21, 2009


Leave No Greens Behind: 4 Superb Greens for Super Health!


Yes, your taste buds may prefer potato chips to collard greens and pizza to asparagus. But, what if you knew that the health benefits of these nuclear-powered super greens are so amazing that they are worth incorporating into your regular menu? After all, eating well is the best revenge -- against a stress-laden, toxin-filled world out there.

Isn't it time you found greener pastures? Make friends with these Fab Four and turn your health around for the better.

The following super-vegetables offer a superb source of the phytonutrient antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids concentrated in the lens of the eye. Vitamin K, which is important for proper blood clotting and may be helpful in fighting Alzheimer's disease, is present in all these foods. They are all also a good source of potassium, an important nutrient for people with high blood pressure.


This leafy green represents one of the most nutritious vegetables around. Research suggests that the high levels of chlorophyll act as a health protective. Since Swiss chard is available throughout the year, it is a great food to have as a regular part of your diet.

One cup of cooked Swiss chard contains:

  • 5493 IU of Vitamin A
  • 31 mg of Vitamin C
  • 573 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 10 mcg of biotin
  • 101 mg of calcium
  • 15 mcg of folate
  • 4 mg of iron
  • 150 mg of magnesium
  • 58 mg of phosphorus
  • 960 mg of potassium
  • 6391 mcg of beta-Carotene
  • 19,276 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin
  • 3.7 g of fiber
  • 3.3 g of protein

Chard is one of the few vegetables (along with spinach and beet greens) recommended for boiling because of the high acid content. Boiling frees up these unwanted acids and allows them to leach into the water. Boil for just 3 minutes and then drain the chard with a strainer.


These leafy greens contain phytonutrients that help to prevent a wide variety of cancers. Research indicates the ability of components known as "glucosinolates" and "methyl cysteine sulfoxides" to activate detoxifying enzymes in the liver that neutralize potentially cancer-causing substances.

One cup of cooked collard greens contains:

  • 5945 IU of Vitamin A
  • 35 mg of Vitamin C
  • 704 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 226 mg of calcium
  • 177 mcg of folate
  • 32 mg of magnesium
  • 49 mg of phosphorus
  • 494 mg of potassium
  • 9,146 mcg of beta-carotene
  • 14,618 mcg lutein and aeaxanthin
  • 5.3 g of fiber
  • 4 g of protein

Steaming works best for collards. Cut diagonally into half-inch slices and place in a steamer. Cook for no more than 5 minutes for best results.



This vegetable is renowned for being an excellent source of folic acid, essential for proper cellular division and DNA synthesis, as well as being an important nutrient for a healthy cardiovascular system. Asparagus provides health-promoting carotenoid phytonutrients that can function as powerful antioxidants to protect cells against oxidative damage.

One cup of cooked asparagus contains:

  • 970 mg of Vitamin A
  • 19 mg of Vitamin C
  • 92 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 36 mg of calcium
  • 263 mcg of folate
  • 18 mg of magnesium
  • 97 mg of phosphorus
  • 288 mg of potassium
  • 3 mcg of selenium
  • 1,087 mcg of beta-carotene
  • 1,388 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin
  • 2.9 g of fiber
  • 4.7 g of protein

Choose medium-size asparagus and snap off the bottom of each stalk. Saute one pound of asparagus for just 5 minutes in 3 tbsps of low-sodium broth. It absorbs just enough moisture from the broth to make it tender




Studies indicate that cruciferous vegetables such as this crown jewel of greens contain the largest concentrations of health-promoting sulfur compounds, which increase the liver's ability to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially toxic substances. Vitamins A and C are also present in broccoli, which offers a rich source of folate important for heart health.

1 cup of cooked broccoli contains:

  • 2280 IU of Vitamin A
  • 123 mg of Vitamin C
  • 155 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 75 mg of calcium
  • 94 mcg of folate
  • 39 mg of magnesium
  • 102 mg of phosphorus
  • 505 mg of Potassium
  • 1,840 mcg of beta-carotene
  • 2,366 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin
  • 4.7 g of fiber
  • 4.7 g of protein

These are just a few of the many potent green vegetables that will not only liven up your plate but also your vitality. Try other "green giants" such as kale, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, dandelions and many others. Go for the green with your next meal and feel the difference today.



Catherine Rourke is an award-winning professional journalist who specializes in covering health, medicine, wellness and nutrition. Watch for her upcoming articles on women's health issues such as hormones coming soon.




Great summary of energizing veggies! How about some recipes next time?

Marah Pearson

Sedona, Ariz.








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