Why Dark Leafy Greens Should Be on Your Plate
Want to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins (including C, the provitamin beta-carotene and folic acid) and add calcium and magnesium to your diet? Then make sure to eat your greens! Kale, collards, beet greens, and bok choy are inexpensive sources of vital nutrients. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental decline1. Here are our picks for leafy greens that you should include in your diet: 1. Kale
- The nutrients in kale help boost wellbeing and prevent a range of health problems2.
- Contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and vitamin K, among others.
- Even the chlorophyll in kale may have health benefits.
- It is also a good source of vitamin C and iron.
- Collard greens improve bone health.
- They contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to reduce glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced damage in individuals with type 2 diabetes3.
- High-fiber foods like collard greens have been known to prevent constipation, promote regularity, possibly prevent certain colon diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, fecal impaction, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and leaky gut syndrome.
- Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron content, collard green can help promote healthy looking skin and hair.
- A cup of cooked spinach contains only 41 calories and has exceptionally high levels of vitamins K, vitamin A, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
- The calcium in spinach can help strengthen your bones to fight against injury.
- Like other leafy green vegetables, spinach is loaded with potent antioxidants, which are important for normal skin cell development and encourage a healthy skin tone.
- Studies have shown that adding just a cup of spinach to your diet each day will help aid in digestion, prevent constipation, maintain blood sugar, and even help curb your appetite if you are trying to lose weight.
References: 1. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study, 2018 Jan 16;90(3):e214-e222. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815. Epub 2017 Dec 20 2. Antioxidants and human diseases, 25 September 2014 3. Diabetes-Friendly Foods From Around the World 4. Spinach 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits