Going green today? Here’s why it could be good for your health.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, an annual celebration of the patron saint of Ireland – and all things green, of course!

Celebrations in the U.S. typically include prominent displays of the color green, parades and taking pleasure in delectable food and drink.  Nutritionists have known for some time that emerald-colored foods are packed with extra benefits. It’s like finding a pot of gold for your health.

What’s so special about green foods?

Green fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and water.  Fiber in particular may keep you fuller longer, and may even impede the development of cancer.  In fact, eating a variety of green fruits and vegetables daily is not only healthy for your body, but is a great preventative approach to reduce your risk of developing ailments such as diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

Ready to go green? Try some of these for starters.

Bell Pepper
Not a fan of citrus? Bell peppers contain an abundance of vitamin C.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can ward off sickness and as a plus, keep your skin glowing.  Adding bell peppers as a snack or to a salad is an easy way to increase vitamin C in your diet.

The ultimate dynamite green leafy vegetable, spinach contains a strong source of folate, iron, and vitamins A and K.  Eating spinach in a salad or sautéed as a side will keep your body powered with an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

Green Beans
Green beans are bone-building machines.  Green beans contain a large amount of calcium to keep your bones strong and healthy.  Green beans also contain iron, which may help prevent anemia.

This wonderful fruit, though brown on the outside, is full of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. Kiwis are sweet and tasty, and very versatile to add as a snack in yogurt or even to a salad.

Watermelon isn’t the only fruit that can keep you hydrated.  Try honeydew, a fruit that is absolutely full of water.  It’s a juicy spring and summer snack that also will keep you full and satisfied.  Honeydew also contains potassium that may reduce cramping.

What’s your favorite green fruit or vegetable?

We invite you to share it in the comment section below!

Whitney Eaton, a registered dietitian at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital, contributed to this blog post.

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