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The texture of asparagus is coarser than some green vegetables. As a result, it can taste like a heavy side dish when, in reality, it is simply just another vegetable that is packed with nutrition. High in vitamin B6, folate, and beta-carotene (an antioxidant), stalks of asparagus are also considered a diuretic and have been known to help prevent kidney stones.
Try this: Asparagus pairs well with roasted red peppers and as a substantial addition to a meal of chicken or fish. Sautee the asparagus and peppers together and season with sea salt and lemon juice to bring out the unique flavor combination.
Picture the already-good-for-you spinach and add even more nutrition, and you’ve got kale. Consuming this vegetable can improve your blood glucose, lower blood pressure, and provide iron. It’s also high in vitamins, protein, and fiber—while remaining filling and low in calories.
Try this: Kale has a crisp texture when raw that can be off-putting if you’re not used to it. To begin introducing it into your diet, try it sautéed with a bit of extra virgin olive oil or blended into a smoothie.
Kiwi may seem like one of the more exotic and unapproachable fruits in the produce aisle, but it doesn’t have to be. One kiwi has about 42 calories and a significant amount of vitamin C. Partly because of this vitamin C surplus, kiwis are recognized as improving skin tone and texture by boosting collagen.
Try this: Eat your kiwi with a bit of organic honey or blend it to give your smoothie a different texture.
4. Basil pesto
The main ingredient in pesto is, of course, basil. Basil is an herb with superb anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. In addition, it is high in magnesium and omega-3’s. Basil pesto is more than just healthy—to its credit, it is a green foods that genuinely tastes good. (There are many variations of pesto. In general, though, besides basil, the other key ingredients of pesto are pine nuts and parmesan cheese.)
Try this: Use fresh basil pesto on your whole-wheat pasta instead of jarred sauces. You’ll avoid the high sugar content often found in canned or jarred pasta sauce and reap the health benefits of this super-herb.
Avocado is a nutritional powerhouse. About 75% of the fruit is fat. That may sound unfavorable at first, but the kind of fat—monosaturated—is the good kind that you need to keep your cholesterol in check. It’s also high in protein compared to other fruits, rich in a multitude of vitamins, and boasts even more potassium than a banana.
Try this: Top your whole-wheat toast tomorrow morning with mashed avocado, lemon juice, pepper, and a sliced hard-boiled egg.
6. Granny Smith apples
Apples are hard to hate because they’re both healthy and easy to eat. There are many variations, including the Granny Smith variety. Granny Smith’s are tarter than many red apple varieties and have a higher acid content, reducing the amount of time it takes for them to brown after slicing. One medium Granny Smith apple contains about 80 calories and a significant amount of soluble fiber, helping you to feel fuller longer.
Try this: Top a chopped Granny Smith apple with nonfat yogurt and organic granola for a light and crisp dessert on a hot day.
Edamame is young soybeans that you can find either already shelled or still in the pods. A major health benefit of edamame is that they are complete sources of protein (like meat and dairy). If you happen to be a vegetarian, edamame can provide the protein you need to sustain your plant-based diet. In addition to being high in protein, edamame is also high in good carbohydrates, iron and vitamin K.
Try this: Edamame is the easiest green foods on this list to prepare (besides the Granny Smith, which takes relatively no preparation to consume). Simply boil or steam your edamame and top with sea salt. You can serve them warm as a stand-alone snack or toss them chilled into your salad for added flavor.
Cilantro almost made this list, but it’s not exactly a standalone food like the others. It’s not without its strong points, though. Use this herb to add spice to chicken or fish. Or, be sure to add it to your salsa or pico de gallo next time.
Also Read: 7 Reasons the Paleo Diet Is Great for Women