'Spring clean' meals by adding greens

March 5, 2013 at 4:41 PM   |   Comments

HOUSTON, March 5 (UPI) -- The bright emerald green is symbolic of spring and a U.S. registered dietitian says to add the color green to "spring clean" meals.

"You will be well on your way to 'spring cleaning' your diet by incorporating these free-radical absorbing foods," Kari Kooi, a registered dietitian at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, says in a statement. "Eating clean is a buzzword for a wholesome, unprocessed diet that drastically limits ultra-processed foods made from inferior ingredients while embracing whole foods like fruits and vegetables."

Kooi advises adding these five green powerhouse foods to spring meals:

-- Asparagus is a natural anti-ager, this vegetable is high in glutathione, an antioxidant that can help reduce skin damage from the sun and contains the most folate of any vegetable. Folate plays a vital role in heart health and the prevention of birth defects.

-- Avocado provides monounsaturated fat which can help drive down levels of bad cholesterol.

-- Brussels sprouts are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. A cruciferous vegetable, Brussels sprouts contain powerful, cancer-fighting sulfur compounds. These green vegetables take on a whole new flavor and crispy texture when roasted in the oven.

-- Kale is brimming with eye-nourishing cartotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of phytochemicals that has been shown to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.

-- Kiwifruit is rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber, kiwis make a perfect portable snack -- slice a kiwi in half and scoop out the emerald flesh with a spoon.

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