You've probably heard some basic facts about leafy greens and how they are good for you. But did you know that leafy green vegetables are the most nutritious food on the planet?! They are a powerhouse of nutrients that serve enormous health benefits! Some of the primary leafy greens to focus on are kale, spinach, mustard and collard greens, dark romaine lettuce, and Swiss chard. A good thing to note is the darker the green, the more densely packed it is with nutrients! And you really can't eat enough of these leaves as they are the lowest calorie food juxtaposed with nutrition. Some amazing facts about leafy greens are listed below, to inspire you to add them to your diet!
1. Packed with Vitamins & Minerals
The primary vitamins contained in leafy greens are C, K, A, and folate. They also contain iron, the mineral needed to make hemoglobin. Iron deficient people are often told to add more iron to their diet. Spinach is a wonderful source of iron! Potassium is another mineral, which can reduce blood pressure, along with calcium which is needed for healthy bones. Vitamin K is needed also for proper absorption of calcium. So as you can see, one of the facts about leafy greens is that they're loaded with vitamins and minerals!
Phytonutrients are natural chemicals in foods that aren't vital for bodily function but act as a preventive step in deceasing cancer risk and increasing overall health benefits. Phytonutrients or phytochemicals found in leafy greens are beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin. Lutein in particular is beneficial for eye health.
3. Good Source of Fiber
Having enough fiber in your diet is essential for proper digestion and bowel health as well as cardiovascular health. Fiber is an important carbohydrate and not even considered one in low carb diets. Luckily, green leafy veggies supply you with plenty of fiber! Collards and spinach have 5 to 7 g of fiber per cup.
4. Outstanding Health Benefits
Consuming enough leafy greens has so many crazy health advantages! It lowers your risk of diabetes by regulating your blood sugar levels. It reduces your risk of heart disease, fights against obesity and related illnesses, and even has the potential of lowering your risk of cancer! Leafy greens have also been shown to help improve acne and arthritis. So many advantages in such a tiny leaf!
5. Keeps the Brain Young
Studies have shown that eating at least two servings of dark leafy greens per week keeps the brain young and helps slow mental decline! And this is by a whopping 40 percent compared to those who consumed less or no leafy green vegetables.
6. Low in Salt and Fat
This is sort of a given, but still an important fact to remember about leafy greens and fruits and vegetables in general (minus avocado, although a good source of fat). You can add other mixed veggies to leafy greens for a healthy and satisfying salad snack that doesn't contain the salt and cholesterol like a bag of chips!
7. Serving Sizes
Most dark leafy greens have 20-25 calories per serving, which is one cup approximately. For women, it's recommended we eat 2-2.5 cups of veggies per day, and 3 cups leafy greens per week. A great way to get in your nutrition is to make green smoothies daily! These taste wonderful and even my picky son will drink them!
Now you know the incredible facts about leafy greens and how important it is to add them to your daily food intake! What are some of the ways you like to eat your leafy greens? Do you prefer a large salad or maybe a green smoothie?