Eat Green - Top 5 Health Benefits of Eating Dark Leafy Greens
Have you heard the phrase that a mother is always right? Yes, that’s true. Mama was right to force you to eat the vegetables. Still, most of us, when we grow older and move out, rarely eat vegetables. Leafy greens are the number one healthy food that you can eat every day to improve your health. Most Americans don’t eat as many servings of greens that diet experts recommend.1 However, thanks to the clean eating movement, more and more people have adopted eating leafy greens with every meal or even at times as the only meal. But we can do better, people.
Whether you choose to toss them in a smoothie or eat as a green salad, leafy greens contain a lot of healthy benefits. Wonder how good they are? Here’s how much.
They lower the risk of cancer
Leafy greens, such as kale and mustard greens, have been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.2 They contain powerful antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, that have cancer-fighting properties. Another example is quercetin, a bioflavonoid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that fight cancer.2
Research has reported that eating 3 or more servings of leafy greens every week significantly lowers the risk of stomach cancer, which is the 4th most common cancer in the world.3 Moreover, greens - such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower - contain indoles and isothiocyanates that protect against colon cancer and other types of cancer. Consumption of more servings of leafy greens also significantly reduces the risk of breast and skin cancers.3
They lower body cholesterol levels
Leafy greens, such as kale and mustard greens, have the ability to reduce the body's cholesterol levels.2 The liver’s function is to use cholesterol to produce bile acids, which are vital in fat digestion. When you eat a meal of kale and meat, the bile acids bind with the fiber contained in the greens; thus, they get excreted before the digestion of fat occurs.2 Since no fat digestion is taking place, and the liver is using more cholesterol to produce bile acids, the cholesterol level reduces.2
According to research, steamed mustard greens and kale lowers cholesterol levels to a greater extent than raw; therefore, be sure to steam up your vegetables before eating them for a few minutes.2 Furthermore, they are also low in fat and high in dietary fiber. Thus, they reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases. According to research, increasing your daily serving of leafy greens lowers your risk of cardiovascular diseases by 11%.3
They boost bone health
Are you surprised? If you thought only dairy products provide calcium to the body, you're far from the truth. Here's a different truth: leafy greens are also good sources of calcium.2
Have you noticed that some dark leafy vegetables are bitter? The dark color reflects their high levels of calcium. Although you cannot eat as many portions of leafy greens to meet the recommended intake of calcium, they can boost your daily intake. One serving of dandelion greens contains 78mg of calcium, while a serving of kale contains 49mg. Moreover, leafy greens are rich in vitamin K, which assists the body to produce osteocalcin, a protein that is essential for bone health.3
According to research when women add a serving or more every day of leafy greens, they decrease their risk of hip fracture by 45% compared to taking lower servings. However, Swiss chard and spinach are ruled out as calcium sources, because they have a high content of oxalic acids that prevent the absorption of calcium in the body.3
They improve vision
Leafy vegetables such as dandelion, kale, and mustard green are rich in carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are essential in eye health.2 Beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A, which improves vision and the immune function - especially in children. Millions of children around the world suffer from blindness because of deficiency of vitamin A, yet that can be solved a serving of leafy greens every day.2
The carotenoids are concentrated in the eye lens and the muscular region of the retina, in order to protect the eyes by filtering the high energy light that could cause eye damage.3 They also improve your vision by enhancing how far you can see.2 They reduce the discomfort to the eyes that could be caused by glare. They also minimize the risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, that is one of the leading causes of blindness in old age.3
Helps to manage weight and reduce the risk of diabetes
Do you want a simple strategy to maintain your ideal weight or lose some pounds? The answer is in the dark leafy greens. They are low in calories and have a filling effect. You eat fewer calories and keep fuller for longer. Their high fiber content binds to the glucose in food to prevent their absorption.3 That way, less glucose is stored in the body or goes into the blood to raise blood sugar. Their low glycemic index is ideal for people with diabetes type 2. According to research, increasing your daily serving of dark leafy greens lowers your risk of getting diabetes by 9%.2
Enjoy a wide variety of greens and their benefits that Mother Nature has provided for us: kale, broccoli, collards, mustard greens, and spinach. With different textures, tastes and flavors from sweet to bitter. Enjoy them steamed, raw in salads or smoothies, or use in stir-fries.
Don’t forget to check out our freeze dried range of vegetables that you can store for a longer period, so that you never miss a serving of vegetables on your plate.