Green leafy vegetables are arguably one of the richest sources of nutrition and have numerous health advantages, including cancer prevention and detoxification.
It is no secret that greens are good for the body but surprisingly, despite their large number of nutritional advantages, they are one of the most under-consumed foods in the average person's diet. There is such a wide variety of green vegetable with different textures and tastes that including one or more as part of a balanced diet need no longer be a point of contention. They can easily be incorporated in recipe favourites, are inexpensive and can be grown easily in your very own garden.
What is it that makes leafy green vegetables a veritable superfood? One reason is the rich assortment of nutrients that can be found in them; vitamins A, C, E, and K feature heavily in salad greens, kale and spinach while many of the B vitamins can be found in broccoli, bok choy, mustard greens and many other varieties of leafy green vegetable. These same vegetables also contain an abundance of phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) such as zeaxanthin, lutein and beta-carotene; valuable chemicals which protect cells from damage.
Green leafy vegetables also contain high levels of dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, calcium and even Omega-3 fatty acids, which serve to maintain eye health, aid in digestive regulation, increase bone strength and boost the immune system.
Read more at Suite101: Leafy Green Vegetables and Their Health Benefits: What Leafy Vegetables can do for Your Health
As a general rule, you should aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables daily (that’s about 2 1/2 cups of cooked vegetables), and that includes leafy greens. As long as they're prepared in a healthy way, leafy greens, like other nonstarchy vegetables, are a great addition to your diet and offer countless health benefits.
Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. They are rich in fiber, an important nutrient for weight loss and maintenance because it keeps you feeling full and helps control your hunger. Fiber can also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help to temper blood-sugar swings by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals. This lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Leafy greens also contain a lot of water, which helps keep you hydrated and contributes to beautiful skin and hair.
Some leafy greens, like collards and kale, are particularly rich in calcium, which helps keep your teeth and bones strong and reduces your overall risk for osteoporosis. Calcium also contributes to muscle function and blood-pressure management. Leafy greens contain potassium as well, which further protects against osteoporosis and helps manage blood-pressure levels.
Leafy greens that contain beta-carotene, such as collard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard, contribute to the growth and repair of the body's tissues. Beta-carotene may also protect your skin against sun damage. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, and food sources of beta-carotene are the best way to get your vitamin A fix, since extremely high doses of vitamin A in supplements can be toxic and lead to bone, liver, and neural disorders as well as birth defects. Food sources of beta-carotene are entirely safe, though, since the body regulates how much beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A.
Leafy greens are an excellent source of folate, which can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and memory loss. And since folate contributes to the production of serotonin, it may help ward off depression and improve mood.
The vitamin E found in green leafy vegetables works with vitamin C to keep skin healthy as you age. This vitamin also helps protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays and may help reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
While leafy greens offer many health benefits, they can sometimes trigger IBS in individuals who are sensitive. Additionally, if you’re taking a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin), be sure to have your doctor monitor your blood and your medication dosage as you increase your intake of dark leafy green vegetables. These vegetables are rich in vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting.
The many beauty and health benefits of green leafy vegetables
Most beauty products are made with organic ingredients because of their multiple benefits. Natural products have always been high priced just because they are healthier and help maintain a flawless complexion.
Here are the many beauty and health benefits of green leafy vegetables that you can find in your home or you can easily purchase from your local grocery store:
Celery leaves are a good source of calcium, iron, sodium, vitamins A and B.Celery juice can be used to treat arthritis pain, rheumatism, kidney disorders and can be used to detoxify the body and lower cholesterol.
It helps lower blood pressure therefore offering treatment for migraines. The scent of the celery is strong and has a calming effect over the mind and body.
Lettuce leaves have a great taste and contain a lot of minerals and vitamins C, iron and carotene, essential for our body. It is believed that lettuce juice can help hair growth if consumed daily.Lettuce is believed to increase fertility and help with premature ejaculation.
Basil leaves are very appreciated because of their antioxidant properties which boost and strengthen the metabolism.It is used to get rid of stress, tension and calm the mind and body. It is very beneficial for the skin because of it's vitamin content like vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus and carotene. It helps cure cramps and stomach aches and can even help eliminate stomach worms.
Mint leaves can be used fresh or dried.Inhaling fresh mint infusion can help relieve nose congestion, cold symptoms, headaches, migraines and dysmenorrhea. It can act as an antibacterial and antifungal if used on a daily basis. Mint can help eliminate toxins from our body. If applied on the skin it can get rid of blemishes and give the skin a cooling effect.
Green Leafy Vegetables in Your Diet
Green leafy vegetables are known as "Super Foods". Reason - They are rich source of nutrients and have numerous health benefits. Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin A, B, C, E and K. They are high in Dietary Fibre, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium Folic Acid and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Green leafy vegetables are the source of antioxidants and phytonutrients (or phytochemicals).
1. Green leafy vegetables boost your immune system due to the presence of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
2. Dark green leafy vegetables contains vitamin A, B, C, E and K which is essential to your body.
3. Dark Green leafy vegetables helps to slow down the aging process and prevent age-related diseases. In otherwords, it has anti-aging benefits.
4. Due to high level of antioxident, green leafy vegetables has been found useful in fighting against diseases like Cancer, Osteopororis, Alzhemier's, Macticular Degeneration, etc.
5. Dark green leafy vegetables in your daily diet can reduce the risk of Coronary Heart disease. As you know, that green leafy vegetables are rich source of folate and antioxidants -
Folate - helps to reduce the amount of homocyteine in the body (an Amino Acid which in high levels is linked to heart disease and stroke).
Antioxidants - content in leafy greens also helps to prevent free radicals from lining artery walls and the fiber content helps to remove unwanted plaque build-up.
6. It's a perfect food for pregnant women. Green leafy vegetables contains the important nutrients such as "Folate" that is required for the proper growth and development of the fetus inside the mother's womb.
7. Green leafy vegetables promotes bone health due to the presence of high levels of vitamin K. Vitamin K helps in the production of the Protein Osteocalcin in the body.
8. Green leafy vegetables are also rich in Iron, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium.
9. Green leafy vegetables are good for the eyesight. They have lutein and zeaxanthin that helps to protect the eyesight from diseases like cataracts.
10. Low in calorie - an excellent food for Weight Management.
11. High in magnesium and low in glycemic values - Lowers your risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes.
12. Folate in green leafy vegetables also plays an important role in the repair of damaged cells. Folate is known to reduce the risk of Colon, Lung, Cervix and Breast Cancer.
13. The rich fibre, flavonoids and cartenoids content in green leafy vegetables helps in the elimination of harmful carcinogens and toxins from the body.
14. Add more green leafy vegetables to your daily diet. This will help you to regulate the digestive system of the body, aids in bowel health and weight loss.