Eat your greens
You know that you’re supposed to eat your vegetables, but do you know why they are so important?
Green vegetables provide vital nutrients and minerals that nourish our bodies
Green veggies are anti-inflammatory and also have anti-cancer properties
Greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K
Greens are loaded with fiber, folate, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals
The best vegetables to eat are dark green leafy vegetables: kale, spinach, chard, escarole, bok choy, napa cabbage, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, and dandelion greens. There are so many glorious greens. Which one have you tried?
Green vegetables are the foods most commonly missing in modern diets. Learning to incorporate dark, leafy greens into your diet is essential to establishing a healthy body and strong immune system. When you nourish yourself with greens, you may naturally crowd out the foods that make you feel ill. Greens help strengthen the blood and respiratory system. Leafy green vegetables are also high-alkaline foods, which may be beneficial to people exposed to higher amounts of pollution, or toxics in environment. The alkaline minerals in our bodies are used to neutralize acidic conditions caused environmental toxins. Green vegetables will help replenish our alkaline mineral stores and continue to filter out pollutants.
A study done by researchers at Rush University in Chicago, found that two portions of leafy greens per day can significantly help protect brain health and reduce the risk of dementia. The researchers followed the diets and cognitive abilities of more than 950 older adults with an average age of 81 from the Memory and Aging Project for between two and 10 years. Those individuals who ate one to two servings of greens per day not only saw a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline, but had the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger than those who consumed none.
Still not convinced? Check out these additional benefits:
Eating Greens is a sustainable choice
Leafy greens, such as kale, collards, turnip greens, spinach, and broccoli, help to reduce carbon footprints and generally save in food costs. Vegetables are able to grow in most climates and also have a relatively low environmental impact.
Greens boost immunity and reduce inflammation
Kale is an incredibly rich source of immune-boosting carotenoid and flavanoid antioxidants including vitamins A and C. Dark leafy greens have been celebrated and embraced for reducing inflammation and associated conditions. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and flavonoids like quercetin are just a few of the powerful anti-inflammatory agents found in vegetables.
Greens contain fiber
Vegetables provide fiber to maintain bowel regularity and prevent the risk of health problems. Great sources include kale, broccoli, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. Meat, dairy, or sugar contain zero fiber.
Greens are rich in many minerals and vitamins, including iron and calcium
Iron is a mineral that helps transfers oxygen from lungs into tissues. It’s a myth that iron isn’t present in plant-based diets. Vegetables, which provide non-heme iron, are higher in iron per serving than animal sources, which provide heme iron. So, what’s the difference? Heme iron has an increased bio-availability, meaning it’s more easily absorbed in the body than non-heme iron. That said, some vegetables still pack a punch. Soybeans, lentils, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnip greens all have high percentages of iron per serving. To boost absorption of non-heme iron, you can pair it with food rich in vitamin C, just sprinkle some freshly squeezed lemon juice on top of sauteed greens or kale salad.
Osteoporosis still troubles millions of people around the world. Although many believe milk is the primary source to prevent bone loss, vegetables have high amounts of calcium to help keep us strong. Some examples are collards, cabbage, bok choy, and kale.
Think essential omega fatty acids only come from fish oil? Think again! A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
Ready to try new greens or experiment with your favorite ones? Green cabbage is great cooked, raw, or in the form of sauerkraut. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun, and wild greens are generally eaten raw, but they can be consumed in any creative way you enjoy. Spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of the calcium these foods contain. However, rotating between a variety of green vegetables shouldn’t cause any nutritional consequences in relation to calcium.
By now you know that green leafy vegetables contain numerous health benefits, and that diversity is key to a healthy microbiome. If you want to try incorporating more green veggies into your diet, let's connect. In a 15-min free health consultation I will provide you with 1-3 recommendations that you can implement right away and start experience health benefits today.
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