The Surprising Truth About Dehydrated Fruits and SugarLet's set the scene: You are in a mood for a healthy snack, and you instinctively think of the fruits you bought last week. So, you head to the kitchen only to find out that the bananas are bruised and the peaches are mushy. At this point, reaching for a handful of dehydrated fruits seems like the best alternative.
But, wait a sec! Don't experts agree that dehydrated fruits are sugar bombs in disguise? Well, yes, but the truth goes way beyond a sugar laden nutrition label. If you want to know what's up with this misunderstood food, here's what research has to say.
A New (Sugary) Perspective
When it comes to sugar, dehydrated fruits are nothing like their fresh counterparts – at least, that's what we hear. The only problem with this claim? We've been approaching the matter from a short-sighted perspective all along.
You see, one cup of raisins(1) contains about 100 grams of sugar while the same amount of fresh grapes(2) clocks in just 23.4 grams of the sweet stuff. But, even though the numbers are self-explanatory, comparing dehydrated and fresh fruits based on volume alone is flat-out wrong. Why? Simply because the dried version is smaller in size.
So, to avoid confusion and making false accusations, we should instead compare the two kinds using a subjective and accurate unit of measurement, a.k.a. analyzing them piece by piece. This method actually shows that the calories and sugar in fresh and dehydrated fruits are, more or less, the same, proving that both versions are equally healthy.
Small Size, Big Appetite
As the name suggests, dehydrated fruits contain zero water. So, as they get stripped off of their juices, they end up shrinking in size, sometimes even up to 75%. Take figs, for example. These plump, juicy fruits shrivel to the point of no return when they are placed in a dehydrator or left out in the sun.
Unfortunately, by turning into the bite-sized snacks, we know and love, dehydrated fruits are very easy to overeat. So, more often than not, we end up eating more than we should in one sitting. That means that the calories pile up and our sugar intake reaches new heights.
Added Sugar Is The Enemy
Unfortunately, natural sugar is not the only type of sugar that's present in store bought dried fruits. Most brands tend to include lots of added sugar to the mix (see: artificial sweeteners, fruit juices, etc.) in an attempt to sweeten the deal and make the products more appetizing. That occurs because certain fruits, such as cranberries, are actually kind of bitter and tart once dehydrated.
However, adding sugar to these fruits turns them into A-list calorie bombs, which is why many people think dried fruits should be avoided at all costs. But, keeping these snackable treats away from your pantry is not the solution. Instead, you should look out for a brand that steers clear of sugary additives and preservatives with Mother Earth Products being a bright example.
Antioxidant, Fiber and Micronutrients to The Rescue
Another reason to keep dehydrated fruits in your weekly (if not daily) menu is the abundant nutrients. You see, despite their unique size-to-sugar ratio, dried fruits don't spike sugar levels as much as other go-to snacks (think, candy or chips). That instantly makes them a healthier snacking option.
But, besides that, research(3) proves that these treats contain significant amounts of antioxidants, helping your body deal with oxidative stress and a variety of metabolic diseases. They are also packed with other nutrients(4) including fiber, calcium, and vitamin A, C and K. FYI, all of these nutrients play a huge role in healthy weight management, helping you shed the extra pounds and keep fat buildup at bay.
Long Shelf Life
Unlike their fresh counterparts, dried fruits come with a long shelf life, serving as an excellent choice οn occasions where fresh produce is not an option. So, whether you are a regular hiker or a weekend camper, these all-weather snacks are the best way to provide your body with enough energy to complete your tasks.
In terms of risk and reward, dehydrated fruits can be readily described as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of snacking. While they come with some major benefits including weight management, portability, and long shelf life, they may also cause quite a mess to your health through the added sugar and overeating.
To avoid such scenarios, make sure you consume just enough to keep your sweet tooth satisfied and always trust brands that support the no-added-sugar philosophy. PS: If you don't know where to start, Mother Earth Products is the way to go. Thanks to our no additive attitude and family friendly approach, we can provide you with high quality dehydrated fruits all year round. #BuildingHealthyHabits
6 Often Unnoticed Factors that Increase the Risk of CancerKnown as the abnormal growth of cells in certain parts of the human body, cancer(1) is currently the second most common cause of death worldwide, right after heart disease. In fact, scientists(2) speculate that more than 1.6 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with the disease in 2017 alone, adding to the already terrifying statistics of the previous years.
While genetics play a huge role in the development of cancer, other equally important factors, such as poor nutrition and bad lifestyle habits, also contribute to the disease's progress. But, what about the ones that slip under your radar? You see, preventing cancer is more than just eating right and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption(3). So, if you want to belong to the 60% of the population(4) that will never get affected by the disease, then you should keep an eye on these six often unnoticed cancer causing factors.
With symptoms that include a burning fever, non-stop fatigue and sometimes even pain, infections can feel like straight-up torture during their peak. However, besides their short-term effects on your health, infections seem to also pose various unpleasant side effects in the long term. In fact, research(5) shows that viral and bacterial infections can also lead to cancer.
The three leading types of cancer causing infections include the hepatitis B and C viruses,(6) as well as the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV. Experts claim that despite being 100% treatable, these infections(7) may affect various parts of the body, such as the throat, tonsils, and most commonly the greater genital area. Accounting for about 4% of all cancers,(8) other types of infections, like the HIV and Epstein-Barr viruses, also pose a significant risk to your health.
Besides the viruses mentioned above, a particular group of bacteria known as H. Pylori(9) is also heralded as carcinogenic. In fact, these bacteria are closely associated with stomach cancer. Experts do everything in their power to eradicate the infection with the help of antibiotics and vaccines.
Your Action Plan: Steer clear of the damaging effect of bacteria and viruses by treating infections as soon as possible, or better yet, preventing them altogether.
2. Bottled Water and Plastic Food Packaging
No matter how contradictory this may sound, sex hormones (androgens, estrogen, and progesterone) are not always that beneficial for the human body. According to research(10), these hormones are also responsible for certain cancers, such as ovarian and breast cancers, in women and prostate cancer in men.
But you have nothing to worry about if your testosterone/estrogen levels are normal. That said, problems arise when these levels are beyond average. While various endogenous parameters may be to blame for such increase, it's usually certain environmental factors that interfere with your sex hormones and cause this disease. One of the most important yet neglected out of the bunch is bottled water. But, when did drinking bottled water become dangerous?
Experts(11) claim that water stored in plastic bottles tends to have high estrogenic activity, containing even up to 78% more of the female hormone than it should. That means that simply by drinking bottled water (especially the one stored in plastic bottles), you can increase your body's total estrogen levels and, as a result, your chances of developing cancer. The same principle applies to all plastic products(12), including certain food packages.
Your Action Plan: Avoid drinking water from plastic bottles. Instead, use glass bottles, which doesn't contaminate your water with cancer causing estrogens. Also, avoid plastic food containers as much as possible.
3. Oral Contraceptives
As mentioned earlier, high estrogen/progesterone levels and cancer are not exactly on speaking terms. As if this wasn't enough, birth control pills, which are packed with these hormones, seemingly make matters worse. In fact, experts(13) conclude that oral contraceptives do indeed increase the risk of liver, breast and, cervical cancer, while also reducing the chances of endometrial and ovarian cancers. So, the results are rather conflicting, and further research is necessary.
Your Action Plan: It's best not to take chances and stay away from oral contraceptives as much as possible. In the best case scenario, take breaks in between use.
4. Working the Night Shift
We know; this is hands down the most surprising cancer causing factor on this list. Imagine how surprised MIT researchers(14) felt when they came across this unexpected discovery. According to their report, working the night shift does increase your chances of developing cancer down the line. But, why's that?
The human body follows the lead of the circadian rhythm(15), a biological procedure which is primarily governed by light. So, when the sun rises or sets, our body reacts to the sunlight or lack thereof. As a result, we either feel sleepy or awake - depending on the time of the day. The circadian rhythm also contributes to other important functions, such as metabolism.
According to the MIT study, two of the genes that control the circadian rhythm of cells also serve as potent tumor suppressors. However, when the normal dark/light cycle of these genes is disrupted, as it happens with night shifts, their effectiveness as tumor suppressors is significantly decreased and allow cancer cells to grow.
Your Action Plan: There's not much you can do if you're a full-time night worker. However, make sure you don't follow the same routine on your nights off.
5. Secondhand Smoking
Nothing new here: smoking and cancer (especially in the lungs) go hand in hand. However, it seems that every type of smoking, even secondhand, is enough of a reason to develop cancer. In fact, research(16) proves that no matter if you are a lifetime non-smoker, you're likely to develop lung cancer if your colleagues at work and family at home keep smoking on a regular basis.
Your Action Plan: Avoid smoking areas as much as possible, or recommend your smoking friends/family members to smoke outdoors.
6. Certain Sunscreens
We know, you know, we all know that sunlight(17) can have a damaging effect on the skin, sometimes even to the point of developing cancer. Lucky us, we've got sunscreens to protect us while we enjoy a beautiful day out in the sun. Unfortunately, though, this is not always the case.
Certain sunscreens contain a cancer causing substance, known as benzophenone-3(18) (or oxybenzone). This toxic substance is known to increase the production of free radicals, which tend to alter cells' DNA and result in cancer. Free radicals are what antioxidants fight. One study(19) even proves that benzophenone-3 enhances the ability of lung cancer cells to undergo metastasis, suggesting the tumor friendly nature of this substance.
Your Action Plan: Opt for sunscreens which contain either small amounts or no trace of the substance.
What to Eat When You're Sick (And What Not To)Winter is fast approaching, and you know what this means: flu season is right upon us. And even though we sometimes try our best to fight off those flu germs, chances are we will get at least a mild sniffle at some point. However, reaching for that medicine cabinet is not always the answer.
Nature has provided us with various nutrient dense foods, which can alleviate flu-like symptoms, like a high fever and the chills, in no time. But, what are these amazing foods you need in your kitchen as winter approaches? And which ones don't belong on your flu fighting grocery list? Read on and find out everything you need to know about your beat-the-cold meal plan.
Coming Down With the Flu – The Need-to-Know
You've probably heard of this old saying that goes: "Starve a fever, feed a cold." Well, the truth is that you shouldn't do either of these things when you catch a cold. According to research(1), the rate at which your body burns calories (metabolic rate) is significantly more active when you are sick, because of the increased body temperature. In fact, for every degree your temperature rises, your metabolic rate increases by about 7%. As a result, you need more calories to keep up with your body's needs.
Meanwhile, experts(2) suggest that you need to eat regularly when you are sick since a caloric restriction reduces your body's ability to heal. To be exact, they mention that a reduced caloric intake makes you more susceptible to the flu's adverse effects, meaning you may experience the symptoms more intensely, while also prolonging the duration of your sick time.
So, even though coming down with the flu may ruin your appetite, you need to stick to a regular eating schedule and keep your body hydrated and well nourished at all times.
What to Eat When You Are Sick
Maybe garlic is not the best way to treat your breath, but garlic sure knows how to beat flu symptoms. Containing a hefty dose of vitamin C(3), garlic(4) has the power to reduce the duration of the cold, relieving you from the miserable flu symptoms as soon as possible. Not only that, garlic is also rich in allicin(5), a compound with powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. So, how about some garlic potato soup this winter?
Before You Get the Sniffles: Stock up on dehydrated garlic (sliced or granulated) by Mother Earth Products to keep the symptoms at bay.
High fever, chills, and an aching body are not the only signs that you are coming down with the flu. Sometimes other symptoms, nausea and vomiting, may also occur. In this case, ginger should be your go-to option. This versatile plant contains a series of antimicrobial nutrients,(6) which minimizes the intensity of cold symptoms by weaking flu germs. At the same time, ginger(7) relieves you from fever induced nausea and vomiting.
Before You Get the Sniffles: Grate ginger into your salads or meals for an extra anti-flu boost.
3. Leafy Greens
Primarily known for their high content of vitamin C(8), leafy green vegetables - spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and arugula - can also be a tasty way to fight off cold symptoms. But, besides being rich sources of the flu fighting vitamin, leafy greens also feature a moderate antibacterial activity,(9) which enhances their immunity-boosting profile even more.
Before You Get the Sniffles: Stock your pantry with dehydrated spinach by Mother Earth Products and add it to soups for a dash of immunity and a pinch of flavor.
Usually recommended for treating cough, honey is ideal for soothing a sore throat. However, this is not all honey is good for. According to research(10), this sweetener (especially manuka honey) shields your body against influenza, while also demonstrating potent antimicrobial activity(11).
Before You Get the Sniffles: Add half a teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm water or tea. This way you allow the sweetener to act upon flu germs while also hydrating your body.
5. Chicken Soup
It looks like there is some truth to this old wives' tale. Chicken soup(12) is actually one of the most efficient (and tasty, may we add) ways to soothe a cold. But why? According to research, chicken meat(13) contains an amino acid, known as cysteine, which is particularly aggressive when it comes to lung mucus(14).
With that in mind, the hot, cysteine-rich chicken broth is an excellent way to hydrate your body, while clearing your flu stricken nasal pathways. Not only that, but experts also suggest that chicken soup may also contain various ingredients with medicinal properties, such as ginger or garlic, which make it all the more effective against the flu.
Before You Get the Sniffles: Indulge in bowlfuls of chicken soup as often as possible for a illness free winter. For an extra boost, add nutrient dense veggies, such as ginger, garlic (also an active flu germ killer), or dehydrated carrots by Mother Earth Products.
The scientific world is still out on this one, but one recent study(15) suggests that probiotics (found in abundance in yogurt) has a modest effect on common cold prevention. However, since scientists are modestly optimistic about yogurt flu fighting effects, moderation is key.
Before You Get the Sniffles: Snack on yogurt in between meals. Decrease your chances of getting sick by mixing yogurt with other foods that prevent the common flu, like honey.
What Not to Eat When You Are Sick
1. Citrus Fruits
Even though citrus fruits - oranges, grapefruits, limes, and lemons - are excellent sources of vitamin C (which fights off flu germs in no time), their acidic nature is often hard on your stomach, irritating it and causing further unnecessary discomfort. Better be safe than sorry, right?
2. Fat Loaded Foods
Much like citrus fruits, fat loaded foods are also hard to digest. While this wouldn't be an issue in your everyday life, your stomach is quite sensitive when you are sick, and fatty foods may irritate it even more. So, if you're feeling under the weather, you'd better skip burgers, chips, or junk food in general.
3. Sugar-Loaded Foods
According to research(16), consuming too much sugar causes inflammation and suppresses the healthy function of your immune system. The thing is that, when you're sick, your immune system is already suppressed. So, indulging in a bowl of ice cream or a handful of cookies during your flu days would only make matters worse.
Fitness: Cardio, Weightlifting and CrossFit
What do you think is effective for losing weight? Is it crunching the treadmill? Or sprinting? Or pressing on weights and doing multiple repetition sets of squats? There are many theories concerning the types of exercise and their effectiveness in weight loss and fitness. Some people believe that cardio is best for weight loss compared to weight lifting. Others are confused whether to take up cross fit or weight lifting. Let’s delve into these types of exercise to find out their differences and their importances.
Comparison of Types of Exercise
Cardio vs Weightlifting
Cardio is low-intensity workouts, such as aerobics that elevate your heart rate.1 It includes workouts, such as Zumba, spinning, running on the treadmill, or jogging.
Cardio gets you fit, and you can do it every day. It’s a good fit for many people because it’s fun. You can go dancing, jogging, or hiking as you burn calories at the same time. Weight lifting, on the other hand, involves lifting weights or doing exercises that strengthen the muscles, such as squats, pushups, pullups, deadlifts, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), etc.
Cardio helps burn calories. It improves your heart health. Cardio keeps your heart in shape, because the heart is trained to work with the highest level of operation during the exercise.
However, it doesn’t prepare you for moments of extreme stress, since you don’t deal with rapid changes unless the activity is consistent. You just need to keep running on the treadmill.1
Weight lifting, on the other hand, revs up your metabolism, makes you strong, and builds muscle. Having lean body mass helps you to lose calories even in your sleep.2
Research shows that you lose more weight with cardio compared to weight lifting. The weight gain of weight lifting is attributed to added lean body mass.2
Weight lifting requires a limited amount of time to be efficient. With cardio the more the workout, the more you lose weight. Therefore, weight lifting is more efficient for your time.1
Risk of injury
Although weight lifting tends to have less risk of injury compared to cardio, if you are not knowledgeable about it you may get injured easily than going for a walk or jogging. Therefore, for weight lifting, you would need some training to do it correctly; cardio which requires little or no coaching.
Weightlifting vs CrossFit
Although both weightlifting and CrossFit can burn calories, the goal of weight lifting is to build strength and increase lean muscle mass. However, because muscle burns calories even at rest, weight lifting can help someone lose more fat as opposed to CrossFit.4
On the other hand, the goal of CrossFit is to achieve overall fitness and is not specific like weight building is for building muscles and endurance. CrossFit incorporates weight lifting, but also other exercises.
Training alone versus in a group
Weight lifters often train on their own, with a workout partner, or have a personal trainer with them. They select their workout regimens and design their workout programs.4 In contrast, CrossFit has a real community.6 People often train in a group and tend to motivate each other beyond their limits.5 If you value support and accountability, then CrossFit may be ideal for you. However, if you like working out alone, then weight lifting is for you.
Specific versus multifaceted
Weight lifting tends to have specific exercises for specific body parts. Weight lifters work on one to three body parts at a time. Working the muscles help to strengthen the muscles and build bone mass for younger people and preserve bone mass for older people.5
For CrossFit, the exercises are multifaceted and not specific. It incorporates exercises for all body parts and seeks to strengthen the whole body. It includes weight lifting, gymnastics, and cardio exercises, like sprinting and jogging. You get exposed to new and varied exercises.5 If you tend to get bored with routine, CrossFit is for you.
Some people may find weight lifting to be boring, because of the repetitions; however, you will only see results gradually if you are consistent.
Intensity and Risk of Injury
CrossFit is intense compared to weight lifting and involves a lot of physical effort.6 People are pushed beyond their limits. For instance, you may run a 10-12 hour endurance race, which may be risky and can cause injury.5
CrossFit includes cardio to raise the heart rate; hence, you can burn more calories than weight training. However, the intensity is often challenging. The random nature of CrossFit and the intensity of the activities can increase the risk of injury.5 Furthermore, the program is not designed for specific individuals. The excess number of reps and intervals could be too much for one person.
However, weight training strengthens the muscles, increases metabolism, and increases lean muscle mass by reducing body fat.6 Weight lifting often has a custom workout plan; therefore, it wins on safety and lower risk of injury. If you want to increase your limits, then CrossFit is for you, but if safety comes first, then weight lifting is perfect for you.
It is important to choose an exercise regimen that you enjoy and suits your needs. Whatever works for you, keep doing it. You know your body best.
Regardless of the type of exercise that you choose, make sure that you do it right. Choose the right shoes, the right equipment, and make sure you enjoy it.
Remember the real health battle begins in the kitchen. Diet will determine 80-90% of your success. You need a solid nutrition strategy to succeed if you want to lose weight. Choose natural foods over processed foods to keep your caloric intake in check, as well as watching your portions. Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially those high in antioxidants. Don’t forget to hydrate.
For a better outcome, combine weight lifting and cardio. That way your body benefits from both.
We’d love to hear from you. Which type of exercise do you enjoy most?
Everything You Need to Know About Antioxidants
By now you have probably picked up a thing or two about which foods are good for your heart, waist, or gut. But, what about eating for your cells? We're talking about foods with a hefty dose of antioxidants.
Between organic fruit and vegetables and a variety of packaged foods claiming to carry all sorts of nutrients, nutrition is going through a renaissance of sorts these days. And antioxidants are sitting front row during this metamorphosis.
But, what's the deal with these healthy compounds? Are they really worth our attention? And if so, why? Read on as we unlock the secrets hiding behind this nutritional buzzword.
Antioxidants: The Need-to-Know
Now, time for some biochemistry. Antioxidants are substances which slow down or even prevent oxidative damage throughout the human body. What does this mean? Since our cells use oxygen to function, they also end up producing malicious by-products, known as free radicals(1). When found in large quantities, these compounds can cause severe cellular damage to our DNA, protein, etc.
Think of antioxidants as free radical "bounty hunters." Not only do they prevent the damage done by free radicals, but antioxidants also come to the cells' rescue by repairing them. According to experts, free radicals and oxidative damage are linked to multiple health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases(2), diabetes(3), muscle wasting(4) and much more.
To make a long story short, our bodies are in desperate need of antioxidants in order to keep functioning. Between juicy fruit and delicious vegetables, certain foods are the ideal way of supplying our bodies with enough antioxidants to fortify our health.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
So, all we have to do is load our body (and plates) with antioxidants and let them take down free radicals one by one, right? Well, unfortunately, it's not that simple. Stuffing your body with as many antioxidants as possible is not the absolute cure-all.
On the flip side, you may be doing more harm than good. Why? As you crowd your system with antioxidants, you may accidentally suppress your body's unique ability to activate its own defense mechanisms. Such counteraction often occurs when you resort to supplements, since it's rather difficult to receive excessive amounts of antioxidants just from your diet.
An excellent example of the adverse effects of antioxidant over-consumption is illustrated in one now-famous study,(5) which took a turn for the worse and had to stop early to prevent risking the lives of the participants. During this study, people who smoked were asked to consume beta-carotene supplements while scientists kept an eye out for the lung cancer markers.
As the study progressed, these markers indicated a modest increase in lung cancer incidence, and scientists had to end the whole thing abruptly. The bottom line is that loading too many antioxidants into your body doesn't necessarily benefit your health.
Types of Antioxidant Compounds
Although there are many antioxidant compounds out there, you are probably familiar with only a handful of them: flavonoids (present in berries, tea, and coffee), catechins, lycopene (found in tomatoes), and vitamins (especially A, C, and E).
However, these examples are only part of the long antioxidant list. Here are a few more compounds you should look for on food labels if you are thinking of taking up a diet rich in antioxidants:
- Ellagic Acid
- Cinnamin Acid
5 Unexpected (Yet Super Tasty) Sources of Antioxidants
We know it, you know it, everyone knows it! Blueberries are often the ones to steal the spotlight when it comes to eating antioxidants for optimal health. However, nature provides us with so many different options that makes blueberries feel like yesterday's news.
Here are five delicious sources of antioxidants, which are within arm's reach every time you hit the supermarket.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This proverb couldn't be more true considering the multiple benefits that come with the regular consumption of apples. Jam-packed with phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolics, and other antioxidants, apples reduce the chance of developing cancer, asthma, diabetes, as well as cardiovascular diseases - according to one study(6).
If you are ready to take a turn for the better in your life, freeze dried apples by Mother Earth Products is a great place to start. Wanna add them to your cart? Click here.
2. Red Wine
Munchies aside, it's always good to know that certain drinks can also help you protect yourself against oxidative stress. That is the case with red wine. Research(7) proves that red wine is rich in anthocyanins and phenolic compounds and not only can shield you against free radicals, but it also adds to your meal's flavor.
Being one of the most popular foods these days, potatoes can do a lot more than challenge our palate. One recent study(8) claims that this vegetable is packed with an awful lot of antioxidants, such as phenolic acids, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. However, consuming refined potato starch may have the exact opposite effects. So, if you want to make sure you reach the daily antioxidant quota, opt for products without refined potato starch.
Tired of looking around in search of high-quality products? Freeze dried potatoes by Mother Earth Products are the perfect solution. If you want in on the action, click here.
Lycopene, which is commonly found in tomatoes, is known for its potent antioxidant properties. One study(9) even supports the definite link between cancer and cardiovascular diseases and lycopene. If you want to enliven your meals, while loading your body with antioxidants, dehydrated tomato flakes by Mother Earth Products are here to save the day. Click here to get yours today.
Whether we consume it in the form of juice at breakfast or as part of a delicious midday snack, oranges can bolster our immunity and for good reasons. They are packed with vitamin C and polyphenolic compounds; oranges(10) are on the fast track to eliminating any signs of free radicals wandering around in the human body.
While free radicals will do anything in their power to bring our health down, antioxidants are our way of saying “no” to their degenerative course of action. However, it doesn't mean that foods with antioxidant properties are here to fix the problem, especially when consumed in large quantities. At the end of the day, it all boils down to a balanced diet.
Eat Green - Top 5 Health Benefits of Eating Dark Leafy GreensEveryone has probably had a fight or two with their mother about eating leafy greens. While some of us gave in and ate with closed eyes, others would toss them in the trashcan or slip them under the sofa when their mom turned away.
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.