Column: Go Green!

By Julia Chiappetta

Anyone who reads my column knows that I am a big fan of green veggies. Simply put, I love greens and they have been my friends these past 18 years, helping me heal and affording me nutrients, superfoods, antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and energy.

I encourage my readers to start their day with drinking greens as I do, with a green juice, or wheat grass, on an empty stomach.

Summer is officially here, and there’s no better time to enjoy all the green veggies growing in abundance in your garden or at the farmer’s markets. Everyone knows that veggies are a must in any healthy diet. We’ve been hearing about veggies since we were kids, but according to a study in 2009, very few choose to eat green vegetables. Even if you’re not a fan of dark green produce, please consider giving it a second chance. Eating greens offers a plethora of health and disease-fighting benefits, boosts your metabolism and even helps you burn calories.  So, indulge and enjoy.

Here are some of my favorite greens on the planet: 

Broccoli:  one of my favorites is a goldmine of nutrition, with high levels of immune system-boosting vitamin C, bone-strengthening vitamin K, and folate, which plays a strategic role in regulating cell growth and reproduction. Broccoli also contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain the nervous system, brain function and promotes muscle growth.  It also contains magnesium and calcium, which help regulate blood pressure.

Kale: one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, offers everything from Vitamins A, C, and K to calcium, folate and potassium.  Kale’s ruffle-edged leaves may range in color from cream to purple to black depending on the variety and is one of my favorites.

Collard Greens: similar to kale in nutrition and often misunderstood. Because of their strength, they are often used as a bread substitute when making wraps and offer a rich, chewy taste. 

Celery: one of the most alkaline foods you can eat, and will neutralize acids.  Acts as a great diuretic, as is is high in potassium and sodium, and it also helps hydrate and nourish the cells in your body. It benefits your nerves and can lower blood pressure, due to its potassium content.

Spinach: As Popeye said, spinach will make you strong. It has been associated with disease prevention, aiding in asthma, lowering of blood pressure and promoting healthy skin and hair. It is a great green to add to your morning juicing because it helps with curbing hunger and helps with weight loss.

Scallions: also known as spring onions and are used in different dishes, but compared to regular onions, they contain more fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Health benefits include reduction of cholesterol, blood pressure and protection to the lungs and mouth.   

Swiss chard: is similar to kale and spinach in that it is a leafy green, rich in nutrients: vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, copper and manganese. It also offers colorful hues of pink, yellow, white and green, making it a beautiful addition to any meal. 

Artichoke: another favorite of mine, contains many nutrients that benefit health including quercetin, which can help fight cancer.

Rapini: or better known as broccoli rabe, was a staple for me growing up in an Italian family. It is similar to broccoli and offers the benefits of vitamins A and B6 and has been linked to repair to the color and protection of the heart.

And here is a green juice recipe to get everybody in the mindset of going green:

Julia’s Favorite Green Juice

1 cup of Spinach

1 cup of Kale

½ Green Apple

½ Lemon squeezed

1 teaspoon of fresh Turmeric

Pinch of black pepper

1 tablespoon of protein powder of your choice

Greens are my friends, and I share my love of them with you. I hope you will drink up a nice organic, green juice in the morning and add some of my favorite veggies to your summer meals and colorful tables. As always, I am so grateful for the gift of each day, for the summer nights as I run and walk at Tod’s Point or the Cos Cob Park. We are so blessed to have so many natural resources in our community, especially Island Beach and Great Captain’s Island, just a short ferry ride away.

Capture the precious moments you have this summer with those you love, and try to share that love with those around you who may be broken, alone or hurting. The joy you will find in doing so is unimaginable.

Julia Chiappetta is the author of “Breast Cancer: The Notebook” (Gemini Media, 2006) and is also the owner of Julia Chiappetta Consulting. She lives in Cos Cob. More information and past columns can be found at