You’ve probably heard it a thousand times! Eat your greens! Whether it’s broccoli, spinach or kale, many people struggle to get enough of these nutrient dense vegetables in their diet, and many don’t eat them at all! Yet, crammed full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, the health benefits gained from eating the green stuff are numerous! Here are eight good reasons why you need to eat your greens:
The high folate concentration found in leafy greens helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Not to mention, the higher calcium levels in greens like collards and kale, and potassium, found in most greens, can aid in blood-pressure management. Because greens are often high in fiber, they help to slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals, and can also help lower cholesterol levels.
Leafy greens are crammed full of antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids, which are crucial in any inflammation-fighting diet. Greens are also incredibly alkaline, and help neutralize the acids in your body.
A diet rich in greens provides the body with calcium, magnesium and manganese, all the major contributors in the maintenance of bone health. Leafy greens are jam-packed with these minerals, all of which are important in protecting against osteoporosis and other bone-related fractures that might otherwise result from a diet devoid of all green!
Boosts your immune system
Your digestive tract is where immune health begins. It then follows that good digestive health is key for good immune health. One study found that a gene called T-bet may play an integral role in promoting good digestive health. This gene signals the production of immune cells, known as innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in the gut, and is activated in response to signals from food, specifically from proteins found in dark leafy greens like kale. This, in turn, helps prevent inflammatory disease, food allergies and bowel cancer!
Fend off depression
Due to their plentiful supply of B vitamins, regular consumption of greens is effective for keeping away depression, altering brain chemistry in ways that affect our mood for the better! For example, vitamins B6 and B9 assist in the production of serotonin, which helps to fend off depression and improve mood.
Enhances brain function
Once again, the faithful B vitamins come to the rescue with their incredibly brain-enhancing abilities! Eating your greens promotes healthy blood flow to the brain, allowing nutrients to arrive to your brain faster, and improve your decision-making capabilities. The antioxidants in greens also helps combat the neurodegenerative effects of free radicals, and protects against diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The high vitamin and mineral content of greens help support the health glow of our skin. The phytonutrient lutein is abundant in dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, collards, parsley, beet greens and endive, and helps to minimize and prevent wrinkles. Greens also promote cell regeneration, and thus slow the effects of aging.
Thanks to the substantial chlorophyll content in greens, our bodies can benefit by being naturally deodorized when making greens an important part of a healthy diet. Chlorophyll is the chemical found in greens that gives them their green hue, and is a natural deodorizer as it possess strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to diminish bad breath and body odor.
What are your favorite ways to eat your greens? Please share your ideas for getting more greens in your diet, or how to get your kids to eat their greens!