Super Greens! How Green Superfoods Benefit Health
If you are trying to eat healthier, including super greens from green leafy vegetables is a must to achieving better health. These plant foods are truly a superfood as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and contain many other health benefits. Including leafy greens into your diet is as easy as including it into salads, casseroles, and even sandwiches.
Just What Are Leafy Greens?
There are many leafy green vegetables, some may or may not be common to you. The produce department of your local grocery store is one place you can find these super greens. If you are really looking to get the most out of your greens, visiting a farm stand, market, or growing your own is your answer.
Types Of Leafy Green Vegetables
- Red and Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce
- Edible Green Leaves: plantain, watercress and chickweed, red clover, dandelion
- Turnip Greens
- Swiss chard
What Makes Leafy Greens Super?
Mother Nature really is providing us with a natural way to help and keep us healthy. Leafy greens, with their powerful antioxidants, may help protect us from certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. A great example would be kale, which is a great source of calcium, folate, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Weight Loss Help
These green vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuce, contain so few calories that you really have no need to count their calories. These foods are also high in fiber which will keep you feeling full longer and have you eating less. Fiber can also help stabilize blood sugar which can help keep the craving for sweets and other junk food away.
Just about all leafy greens can be considered good for your health. They contain the vitamin K, which helps keep the body properly clotting blood. Vitamin K also helps with many age-related conditions such as arterial calcifications, heart disease, kidney damage and bone loss. It doesn’t take much to get your daily need for vitamin K as just a single cup of green leafy vegetables should give you the needed amount. When it comes to kale, you get a whopping six times the daily amount recommended.
Helps Lower Cholesterol
Green leafy vegetables may help in the lowering of cholesterol. The fiber in leafy greens bound to the bile acids produced by the liver to help fats digest from the gastrointestinal tract. The green leafy vegetable residue, along with the bile acids, pass through the body, making the liver have to use more cholesterol in order to make more bile acids. This can lead to a lowering of the endogenous cholesterol levels in your body. A Nutrition Research journal study indicated that mustard greens and slightly steamed were the best job at binding bile acids.
Green leafy vegetables may also help with eye health. The most beneficial greens for eye health to eat are kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens and Swiss chard because they have high amounts of the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein. Carotenoids help prevent sun-induced cataracts by filtering out the high energy light caused by sun. These carotenoids also help in the improvement of overall visual acuity.
Eating a cup of raw escarole contains pantothenic acid, also known as B5, which can help your body. The B vitamins will assist the breaking down of carbohydrates into glucose to be later used for cellular fuel. The body is not capable of storing B vitamins each day so you must get a daily source for these vitamins.
Increase Bone Health
Green leafy vegetables are loaded with calcium. Calcium is what is responsible for the slightly bitter taste of these foods. True, leafy greens will not give you the daily amount of calcium needed, but it will provide you with an easily absorbable form that will help you meet your needed amount. Just a half of a cup of mustard greens can give you 55 mg of calcium while dandelion greens will give you about 75 mg of calcium. Since these are foods that are fat free, it is a healthier choice than trying to get your calcium from dairy foods that are high in fat dairy.
Colon Cancer Prevention
Mustard greens and kale, along with other vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, can also help in the prevention of colon cancer.
Ways To Eat Leafy Greens
These super greens that have been listed, can be eaten several ways. You can steam and mix leafy greens with other vegetables or even add them to a stir-fry. Leafy greens can also be easily be added to salads or sandwiches. Also, when cooking, it is advisable to have as little heat as possible to keep their nutritional content. Spinach and Kale, both cook very quickly so they are at risk for overcooking very fast . For example, broccoli, when it turns dark green usually means it is overcooked. Try and steam your greens until they are a bright free color.
Including these super greens into your daily diet can help you take necessary steps to achieving better health. If you haven’t already included leafy green vegetables into your diet, the time is now to do so. Your body and health will thank you for it.
Here is a quick video on “3 Ways To Eat Kale”