Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FUEL - BY SEANNA THOMAS

TSMART EAT­ING HE SUN IS out, the air is get­ting warmer and farm­ers mar­kets are start­ing to open and present the first bounty of the sea­son. I love farm­ers mar­kets for all the dif­fer­ent foods we can find there in­stead of the gro­cery store, in­clud­ing rain­bow car­rots, fresh to­ma­toes and ev­ery­thing green. Typ­i­cally we as­so­ci­ate warmer air with green. Green grass on the ground, green leaves on the trees and green food on our din­ner plates. As Cana­di­ans, we don’t eat enough greens, even though we know we should be eat­ing more, es­pe­cially dark, leafy greens. The health ben­e­fits are stag­ger­ing, with even just a cup a day.


Dark, leafy greens in­clud­ing spinach, kale and col­lard greens are in­cred­i­bly high in fi­bre. One cup can have up to 20 per cent of your daily rec­om­mended in­take, which is fan­tas­tic con­sid­er­ing that’s one part of a sin­gle meal.

Tip: Try start­ing your day with a green smoothie to get your sys­tem mov­ing. Add a cup of spinach, kale or pars­ley to your smoothie for ex­tra get-up-and-go.


One cup of kale has more cal­cium than a cup of milk. Most leafy greens con­tain a great amount of cal­cium which is ex­cel­lent news for peo­ple with lac­tose in­tol­er­ance, or if you just want to lower your dairy in­take. Don’t for­get about mag­ne­sium and vi­ta­min D, which helps your body ab­sorb cal­cium. Luck­ily spinach con­tains both cal­cium and mag­ne­sium, all wrapped up in a beau­ti­ful bou­quet just for you. Vi­ta­min D can be ob­tained through fish, cheese, for­ti­fied dairy, egg yolks, sun­shine or sup­ple­men­ta­tion.

Tip: Make a salad for lunch with shred­ded kale and spinach. Top with salmon for vi­ta­min D and your bones will be thank­ing you.


Hav­ing low iron in your body can cause fa­tigue and ir­ri­tabil­ity among other symp­toms. Luck­ily, iron can be found in many sources, whether you eat meat or not. The dark­est leafy greens con­tain the most iron, in­clud­ing spinach, turnip and beet greens, along with kale.

Tip: Buy turnips or beets with the greens at­tached – it’s like get­ting two veg­eta­bles for one. Make sure you wash them well be­fore adding them into your next stir-fry.

Vi­ta­min K

Vi­ta­min K is es­sen­tial to over­all health as it pro­motes blood clot­ting in the body, pre­vent­ing ex­ces­sive bleed­ing. It’s also in­cred­i­bly good for your skin, keep­ing you look­ing young and vi­brant. Vi­ta­min K can be found in dark leafy greens and let­tuces, usu­ally con­tain­ing more than your daily re­quire­ment in one serv­ing.

Tip: Add wa­ter­cress to your next wrap or sand­wich for well over your daily re­quire­ment of vi­ta­min K. 100 g of wa­ter­cress will give you over 200 per cent.

De­tox Ben­e­fits

Your or­gans do an ex­cel­lent job of detox­ing on a daily ba­sis, but it doesn’t hurt to give your body a lit­tle boost with ex­tra fi­bre, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als. Leafy greens con­trib­ute to your boy’s detox­i­fi­ca­tion by adding bulk to your diges­tive sys­tem, act­ing as lit­tle scrub brushes for your colon. Greens also con­tain an­tiox­i­dants such as chloro­phyll which can help cleanse your blood of harm­ful en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tants.

Tip: Place some chopped leafy greens in your bowl be­fore you la­dle in your hot soup. The greens will wilt slightly and add flavour, fi­bre and nu­tri­ents to your lunch.

The best way to in­tro­duce greens into your diet is to sim­ply eat them ev­ery day, a lit­tle bit at a time.

Seanna Thomas is a nu­tri­tion­ist from Toronto.

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