Load Up on Leafy Greens

Take a look at the  Healthy Eating Plate by Harvard University or My Plate by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and you'll find something in common. Both eating plans recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Break that down the vegetable guidelines into bite-sized advice, and you should be loading up on leafy greens.

Leafy greens like broccoli, spinach, kale, and asparagus, are loaded with vitamins and nutrients. And they contain high levels of vitamin K. Your body uses vitamin K to build strong bones, protect your heart, and regulate vitamin D. But it also plays an important role in blood clotting. If you're taking blood thinners or have a problem with your blood coagulating, check with your doctor before adding more leafy greens to your diet.

For everyone else, leafy greens pack a powerful punch that can improve your health and prevent many common age-related conditions like vision loss, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Eating lots of leafy green vegetables has also been found to help reduce the risk diabetes, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers found that eating 1-1/2 extra servings of leafy green vegetables a day cut the risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 14 percent. They also found that other vegetables did not produce the same results.

If you want to protect your health, add more leafy greens to your diet. It's easy. Make a spinach salad. Eat broccoli as a snack. Bake your own kale chips. Or grill some freshly-picked asparagus when it's in season. These are just a few ideas.

You can also load up on leafy greens by choosing from a variety of MagicKitchen a la carte meals like Crustless Spinach Quiche and Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Light Pesto Sauce. Take a closer look at your diet and find ways to add more leafy green vegetables to your meals.