Fall is here and so are some of the best green vegetables!

Getting produce locally and in season often means we are buying vegetables at their peak of freshest and flavor. Dark, leafy green vegetables like the cooler growing seasons. Think Swiss chard, spinach and kale. These vegetables are the powerhouses of the nutrition world. Filled with vitamins to protect our immune system, aid in iron absorption and help in protein metabolism. Greens also contain magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber. Eating more potassium can help you control your blood pressure. 

Leafy greens are loaded with nutrients, from lutein and zeaxanthin to saponins and flavonoids. These substances act as antioxidants in the body. They scour the body for free radicals, which are unstable particles produced through normal metabolism that can do damage to healthy cells and render them harmless.

Like all non-starchy vegetables, the leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrate, kale for example has only 33 calories and 6 grams of carb per cup while providing 133 percent of vitamin A and 134 percent of vitamin C daily requirements. Swiss chard is only 35 calories and 7 grams of carb per cup.

Most greens can be boiled, steamed, stir-fried, or roasted. Kale adds a rustic, hearty touch to soups and stews. Members of the chicory family such as curly endive or frisee can be added to salads. Be careful though, chicory greens tend to be bitter, so they need a sweet or savory foil such as onions or carrots for contrast.

When you are stocking up on your apples and pumpkins this year make sure you check out the leafy greens available at your local and usually weekly farmers market and move beyond your usual comfort zone to better health.

And in case the leafy greens aren’t your cup of tea, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts are wonderfully healthful fall vegetables with which to fill one-half of your plate.

Although this content is reviewed by Joslin Diabetes Center healthcare professionals, it is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.